§ 5. Mr. Brotherton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by how much the green pound differs in value from the Irish green pound.
§ Mr. Brotherton
Will the Minister take steps to give the British farmer the benefits that the Irish farmer gets from the value of the green pound? Will he tell the House by what date he expects to be able to bring the green pound into line with the value of the pound sterling?
§ Mr. Powell
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the constant dislocation, unfairness, loss of employment and malpractices which result from this disparity and anomaly between the two green pounds taken in conjunction with the open frontier?
§ Mr. Pym
Does the Minister agree that the distortions and disparities, which are occurring at an ever-increasing pace, are so disrupting the operation of the common agricultural policy that it is seriously threatened? Does he agree that it is vital that Finance Ministers should take firm, resolute and urgent action to get the monetary situation more aligned so that the CAP can work harmoniously and properly?
§ Mr. Crawford
Does the Minister agree that the benefit gained by the Irish shows what can be done under self-government, and would not Scotland benefit equally from self-government?
§ 13. Mr. Stonehouse
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further adjustment is required in the green pound and other factors affecting domestic prices of food in view of the continual decline in the value of sterling; and what effect these changes will have on the prices of staple foods during the next 12 months.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Does my right hon. Friend agree with the figures given by Commissioner Lardinois last Tuesday— that the Community paid a subsidy to Britain of £190 million last year, which is equivalent to about one third of the subsidies paid on food, and that currently the Community is subsidising British food to the extent of £15 million per month? As the fall in the value of sterling against European currencies since the last adjustment in the green pound last October is 8 per cent., is not another adjustment required soon?
§ Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop
Would not it be better if the right hon. Gentleman announced a 5 per cent. limit on the disparity between the green pound and the 609 exchange rate? It is no good the right hon. Gentleman quoting how many times he has altered it. The pound goes down and down. Will not he announce a limit so that, when it is reached, there will be an automatic devaluation? That is what the industry needs.
§ Mr. Torney
Is my right hon. Friend aware that Commissioner Lardinois, talking in London this week about the terrible mess of the common agricultural policy, suggested that Britain should reconsider her decision to lower food subsidies? Is not this a very good idea? Will my right hon. Friend allow food subsidies to continue as they are, because of the ever-rising cost of our food?
§ Mr. Cryer
Does my right hon. Friend agree that on Tuesday of this week Mr. Lardinois also said that unless we had economic and monetary union, the EEC would collapse? Does my right hon. Friend agree with that view? Will he encourage the revision of our own independent currency to bring about the collapse, which is perhaps about the best thing that could happen for British agriculture?
§ Mr. Pym
Does the Minister appreciate that Mr. Lardinois did not use those words? He said—and I repeated it today—that unless the monetary distortions and disparities were ironed out, the common agricultural policy would not have a chance. That is the important point, and that is what I asked the Minister to urge upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer.