HC Deb 20 March 1975 vol 888 cc1828-30
2. Mr. Michael Shaw

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish a comparison of production cost increases in 1974–75 in the United Kingdom with production cost increases in the rest of the EEC, and in addition indicate farm price increases in 1974–75 in the United Kingdom and in the EEC.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Fred Peart)

The EEC Commission's Annual Report for 1974 on the agricultural situation in the Cornmunity—R / 3408 / 74—contains estimates of changes in the different member States in the prices of inputs and in agricultural producer prices between 1973 and 1974. With permission, I will circulate details in the Official Report.

Mr. Shaw

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the costing records in his Ministry for each section of the industry are up-to-date and accurate? On the question of prices, does he understand the difficulties in selling that are placed upon our farmers by the high level of the green pound and the continuance of the present monetary compensation amounts? Will he seek to end, selectively at any rate, the continuance of the transitional period?

Mr. Peart

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will look carefully at the figures. I believe that they are accurate. The figures produced by my Ministry have always been regarded as accurate. On the question of the compensatory amounts, it is necessary to balance the interests of our producers and consumers. The monetary compensatory amounts are providing substantial subsidies on some of our food imports.

Mr. Pym

I have two questions to ask the right hon. Gentleman. What plans has he to readjust and realign the green pound so that the competitive imbalances can be ironed out? Secondly, in view of the scale of the continuing production cost increase, combined with a 30 per cent. fall in real income, how and when does he see the present decline in output being reversed so that we can get back to the course of expansion which he wants, but upon which we are not set as things stand today?

Mr. Peart

I am well aware of the difficulties in connection with the green pound, and I have been having talks on the matter. On the issue of confidence, I believe that what we negotiated in Brussels in relation to the beef deal was right. The Annual Review White Paper set out details of considerable increases, and this is to be followed by a long-term policy document which I hope to publish soon.

Following is the information:

Input Prices Agricultural Producer Prices
Germany + 7.0* -5.*
France +27.6 -1.6‡
Italy +30.9 -17.1
Netherlands + 5.1 Not available
Belgium +10.3 -10.0‡
Luxembourg +14.0 Not available

Input Prices Agricultural Producer Prices
Ireland +37.8 + 4.1
Denmark +16.6 Not available
United Kingdom +26.0† + 6.0

Estimates by the EEC. Directorate General for Agriculture.

Source: SOEC, on the basis of national figures. For the annual indices of input prices: SOEC Agricultural Statistics.

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