HC Deb 02 December 1982 vol 33 cc387-8
11. Mr. Jay

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what were the percentage increases in United Kingdom retail food prices in the most recent five-year period; and in the periods 31 January 1968 to 31 December 1972 and 31 January 1973 to 31 December 1977, respectively.

Mr. Peter Walker

The increases were as follows:

Per cent.
January 1968-January 1973 49
January 1973-January 1978 136
October 1977-October 1982 54
The right hon. Gentleman will be delighted to know that over the past two years the increase has been only 14.3 per cent., and over the past year only 4.9 per cent.

Mr. Jay

Do not those figures clearly show that the exceptionally steep rise in food prices in the four years after 1972 was due to the adoption of the common agricultural policy?

Mr. Walker

Unfortunately for the right hon. Gentleman, as he should recall, the then Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, my predecessor, announced a few months before the election that only 10 per cent. of the 100 per cent. rise in prices during the period of the Labour Government was due to the Common Market.

Mr. Latham

Following that massive own goal by the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay), will my right hon. Friend remind the House that in 1974 and 1975 the Labour Government wasted hundreds of millions of pounds on completely unselective and useless food subsidies?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. Altogether, that Government's record was pretty disastrous.