§ 4. Mr. Spence
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will name the countries, together with the quantities involved as a proportion of the United Kingdom domestic market, from which food has been imported during the past three months at a price lower than the prevailing EEC prices.
§ Mr. Peart
I regret that this detailed information is not readily available. For many products world prices have recently been higher than full Community prices. A number of foodstuffs for which there are support prices set under the CAP are available on import into the United Kingdom, from both Community and third country sources, at lower prices than those obtaining for comparable products in the original Community. This is because of the operation of transitional and monetary compensatory amounts.
§ Mr. Spence
I regret that the figures are not readily available. Is it not the case, from what the right hon. Gentleman said, that the existence of the Community and our participation in it has meant a stable supply of food for the British housewife at reasonably favourable prices compared to world prices?
§ Mr. Peart
I do not know whether that can be deduced from what I said. However, sugar is an example of a commodity the world price of which is currently above the EEC price. Milling wheat is another example. I have often argued, especially in relation to meat, that it is important for us to think of the consumer as well as the producer.
§ Mr. Jay
Is my right hon. Friend aware that world wheat prices have fallen more than 30 per cent. since February, that most world grain prices are now lower than the EEC levels, and that the prices of other foods, including sugar, cocoa and coffee, are also falling? In these circumstances, is it not even more important that Britain should free itself from the CAP?