§ 11. Mr. Gregory
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the volume and value of sugar to be used by the United Kingdom confectionery industry this year; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Gregory
Does my hon. Friend agree that there is great disappointment among consumers and producers in this country that the Commission's proposal to reduce sugar support prices by 5 per cent. has not gone through? Is he aware that our great confectionery industry will suffer as a result? Is he further aware that if the British Government were to press the matter further, we should be likely to see an increase in the benefits to the United Kingdom confectionery trade, which produces a surplus amounting to about £100 million in exports?
§ Mr. Curry
My hon. Friend will be aware that we supported the case for a cut in the sugar price, not merely because it would be of benefit to consumers and manufacturers in Britain but because it is the best formula for the developing world rather than to give compensatory subsidies. I am strongly aware of the importance of the confectionery industry, which, as my hon. Friend says, has a £100 million a year trade surplus. I appreciate that the industry is strongly centred in my hon. Friend's constituency and that he is particularly attentive to its interests.