HC Deb 30 June 1983 vol 44 c694
13. Mr. Knox

asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food to what extent the United Kingdom is self-sufficient in butter; and how this compares with the position in 1979.

Mr. MacGregor

Production of butter is estimated to have represented 64 per cent. of total new supplies in 1982, compared with 47 per cent. in 1979.

Mr. Knox

Do not those figures represent a remarkable improvement since the Government came into power, and a striking improvement since the early 1970s? Is my hon. Friend satisfied that dairy farmers have been adequately rewarded?

Mr. MacGregor

I agree with my hon. Friend about the tremendous improvement in our self-sufficiency, which is due to increased productivity and other reasons within our dairy industry. He will know that last year there was a resonable and substantial rise in dairy farm net incomes, which should be seen in the context of declining real incomes in earlier years. Therefore, I hope he will feel that the point that he is making is reflected in that increase.

Mr. Deakins

Is that not an increased share of a diminishing market? What is so good about that?

Mr. MacGregor

I would have thought that the fact that we were increasing our self-sufficiency in an area where we can do so would be widely welcomed.

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