HC Deb 01 November 1979 vol 972 cc1439-40
20. Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to meet the president of the Food Manufacturers Federation.

Mr. Wiggin

My right hon. Friend last saw the president of the Food Manufacturers Federation on 23 October. No firm date has been set for their next meeting.

Mr. Winterton

Does my hon. Friend agree that the United Kingdom's food manufacturing inustry is the most efficient in Europe and that it provides the best value within Europe? Does he further agree that the interests of our producers—the farmers of the United Kingdom—and of the food manufacturers are now more in agreement than they have ever been? What proposals does he have to put before the House for a reform of the common agricultural policy which will ensure that the best interests of both the farmers and the food manufacturers continue to be met by a Conservative Government who are pledged to serve the best interests of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Wiggin

My hon. Friend will be well aware of the many statements made by my right hon. Friend dealing with the last part of his question. I hope that the House appreciates the absolute necessity of seeing that all parts of the food chain work together for the good of the farmer, the manufacturer and the customer.

Mr. Cryer

Will the Minister answer his hon. Friend's question, which concerned what would be achieved in the reform of the common agricultural policy? Is it not true that no reform can be achieved without the unanimous support of all the member States? Does he agree that he will not get that support and that, therefore, talk of reform of the CAP is just so much hot air and nonsense?

Mr. Wiggin

I am surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman say that, in the light of the best price settlement that has been achieved since Britain has been in the Common Market. Although Opposition Members are reluctant to accept that, it is a great achievement.