HC Deb 27 May 1976 vol 912 cc627-9
Q2. Mr. Brotherton

asked the Prime Minister if he will pay an official visit to Binbrook.

The Prime Minister

I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Brotherton

is the Prime Minister aware that Binbrook lies at the heart of the Lincolnshire agricultural land and that many of Binbrook's farmers are very concerned about the present value of the green pound? Will he tell the House whether the Government intend to revalue the green pound, to bring it back into line with the pound sterling?

The Prime Minister

I am sure that Binbrook is a very salubrious and charming hamlet. I imagine that every day its inhabitants discuss nothing other than the green pound. On the whole, we feel it would be wrong to revalue the green pound at present, because with the increased price of commodities that is not within our control. It is everybody's responsibility to try to keep the rate of inflation down as far as we can.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does my right hon. Friend readily agree that whatever the sufferings of the farmers from the devaluation of the green pound, members of the farming community, especially the Lincolnshire farmers, have never had such a bonanza as they have had from the price they have been getting for their potatoes over the past nine months?

The Prime Minister

Yes, I think that potatoes have done exceptionally well—[Interruption.] Unfortunately, I have no quota myself. But other commodities have not done so well. For the farming community generally, the spring has enabled the work to go ahead extremely well. There is now a shortage of rain, but the dairy industry is moving ahead. On the whole, I do not think that there is a bonanza, except in some commodities.

Mr. Blaker

Will the right hon. Gentleman suggest to his right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) that Binbrook would be a very suitable place to put out to grass Paddy the labrador, whose official career is now presumably over, and who must be surprised and disappointed, as we all are, that he has not appeared in today's Honours List?

Mr. Mike Thomas

If my right hon. Friend cannot visit Binbrook, will he visit Newcastle upon Tyne and talk to the workers and management at Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd.? Will he explain to them how he is going to deal with the problems that may be created this evening by the irresponsible exaggeration by Conservative Members of a genuine technical error and that may affect the livelihoods of the men and management in an industry which is now in the process of getting its fourth vesting day?

The Prime Minister

It is true that the shipbuilding industry faces the greatest crisis it has faced since the end of the war. That is true of the world situation, as I think Conservative Members know. Therefore, it is vitally important that we should get ahead as quickly as possible with the reorganisation of the industry, so as to save a great many jobs, although it will have to be faced that a lot of rationalisation is needed if the British shipbuilding industry is to be saved. No parliamentary successes by the Opposition will prevent that from happening.

Mr. Gorst

The Prime Minister mentioned a moment ago the revaluation of the green pound, but there is another form of revaluation that is long overdue. Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the creation of an honour that honourable men can honourably accept?

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