§ 2. Mr. Fairgrieve
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Scottish beef and pig producing industries concerning the effects of Her Majesty's Government's policies and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. William Ross
I have received representations from the National Farmers' Union of Scotland and others. The Government have started discussions with the unions about longer-term support measures. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and 453 Food will be making a statement today about decisions which were taken on beef and pigs at the recent Council of Ministers' meeting.
§ Mr. Fairgrieve
Does the Secretary of State appreciate that only last week there were further falls in the market in the price of beef, making the situation even more difficult than for the last three months?
§ Mr. Ross
Market prices until recently have been fairly firm, but there has since been some seasonal reduction. We have already taken action and we gave the pledge that we would take further action if that was necessary. The hon. Member should await the statement by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture later.
§ Mr. Monro
Will the Secretary of State accept that the Minister of Agriculture's statement in Luxembourg yesterday did absolutely nothing to restore confidence to the agriculture industry? Will he say whether the variable premium has been fixed for beef in this country, and how quickly it will be introduced, because at present all farmers are gravely concerned at the lack of speed shown by the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State, who seem to equate with a tortoise?