HC Deb 23 June 1993 vol 227 cc401-7

Amendments made: No. 46, in page 30, line 6 at end insert

'section [Commercial activities of milk marketing boards: distribution of profits],'.

No. 47 in page 30, line 6 at end insert

'section [ British Wool Marketing Board: power to grant relief],'.—[Mrs. Gillian Shephard]

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

9.52 pm
Mr. Paul Marlow (Gloucestershire, West)

It is a tremendous disappointment to me that my carefully prepared and statesmanlike speech cannot now be delivered in full because of the pressure of time. However, I take this opportunity to welcome my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food and my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to the Front Bench.

Hon. Members and members of the trade outside—

Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

The profession.

Mr. Marland

I beg my hon. Friend's pardon. Members of the profession and hon. Members will be very reassured by the way in which my right hon. Friend the Minister and my hon. Friend the Minister of State have offered so kindly to be part of a listening Ministry and to leave the door open to people who want to see them at any time. There is a great deal of informed opinion on the Conservative Benches which would very much like to take advantage of that opportunity. I congratulate my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend on the trenchant way in which they have gripped their brief.

I believe that three issues are of the utmost importance. First, there is the disputes procedure. I hope that my right hon. Friend will carefully study the proposals that were put forward by the milk marketing boards for a successor body. Secondly, with regard to Milk Marque's plans for the future, I have some sympathy with the view of the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours). Milk Marque is asking for a very wide brief. I urge my right hon. Friend to look carefully at that matter. Part of Sir Leon Brittan's brief in allowing a single voluntary co-operative to be established in this country is that it should not have such a wide brief as it is looking for.

Thirdly, we should keep an eye on the exploitation of the present milk shortage by producers and manufacturers, in the interests of our producers and manufacturers, especially our producers. We do not want to turn off the users of milk. If the price is too high, they will surely look elsewhere to source their manufacturing. Housewives and other milk drinkers will give up drinking milk or look elsewhere for milk substitutes. We do not want that to happen.

In the fullness of time, the tight quota regime might be relaxed. Furthermore, under the auspices of GATT, we might find that Commonwealth countries that had to give up their markets in this country when we joined the EC will look hungrily at our market to sell their surplus milk. Even our nearest neighbours, the Irish, are beginning to buy dairy companies in this country to take advantage of our larger market and their 200 per cent. excessive self-sufficiency.

The Bill must lead to a regime which will ensure long-term success and short-term prosperity for the milk producer. In that spirit, I really wish Milk Marque well. We need a viable dairy industry providing jobs for rural communities. We need satisfied customers'who continue to drink United Kingdom milk and consume United Kingdom dairy products, rather than becoming dependent on imports and milk substitutes.

I assure my right hon. Friend the Minister that many Conservative Members are anxious to see Milk Marque succeed and the United Kingdom dairy industry survive.

When the time comes for her to give her seal of approval to any scheme which is put forward by the milk marketing boards for a successor body, I should like her to remember that many Conservative Members are willing and anxious to give advice if my right hon. Friend considers that she needs it.

9.56 pm
Mrs. Gillian Shephard

I shall respond briefly to my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Marland). I thank him for his kind remarks. I assure him that we shall look most carefully at all the points that he raised in this excellent debate. I thank him also for wishing the Bill well.

9.57 pm
Dr. Strang

The Bill has three important objectives: first, the winding up of the milk marketing boards; secondly, the enabling power to wind up the potato marketing board of Great Britain; and, thirdly, the ending of the wool guarantee. The Labour party opposes all three objectives. We believe that there was an opportunity in the 1980s to adapt the milk marketing boards. That was the view not only of the milk marketing boards but of producers and the Dairy Trade Federation. That opportunity was missed and we are concerned about the arrangements which will follow.

As for the potato marketing board, it would be churlish not to welcome the Minister's statement this afternoon. It was a viable statement, but of course the Bill contains the enabling power to wind up the potato marketing board on a future occasion. However, from what the right hon. Lady said, I trust that we have a good chance of ensuring that the board continues as long as there is not an EC regime.

We believe that the decision to end the guaranteed wool price was wrong. This is the worst of all possible times to do it. As hon. Members will be aware, wool prices are utterly depressed. All three changes were not sought by the industry. We have a very successful industry and milk of the highest quality in Europe. We have a very successful potato industry. The wool marketing board has served the industry well. For all those reasons, there is no case for this measure. It is based on Tory dogma and we will vote against the Bill.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard

I regret that the Opposition's contribution has ended on that note because I believe that we achieved a degree of consensus during the debate. The Government feel that the changes for milk and for wool represent new challenges for agriculture and that our magnificent industry will rise to those challenges. We will take a careful look at the potato industry.

I would particularly commend to the House the Government's marketing initiatives, which will be greatly strengthened by the Bill. I believe that the future looks good for one of our foremost industries and I am delighted to commend the Bill to the House.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes 264, Noes 137.

Division No. 306] [9.50 pm
Ainsworth, Peter (East Surrey) Amess, David
Alison, Rt Hon Michael (Selby) Arbuthnot, James
Allason, Rupert (Torbay) Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham)
Ashby, David Freeman, Rt Hon Roger
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy French, Douglas
Aspinwall, Jack Fry, Peter
Atkinson, David (Bour'mouth E) Gale, Roger
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Gallic, Phil
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Gardiner, Sir George
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset North) Garnier, Edward
Baldry, Tony Gillan, Cheryl
Banks, Matthew (Southport) Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Bates, Michael Gorst, John
Bellingham, Henry Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bendall, Vivian Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth, N)
Beresford, Sir Paul Grylls, Sir Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Hague, William
Blackburn, Dr John G. Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Hampson, Dr Keith
Booth, Hartley Hanley, Jeremy
Boswell, Tim Hannam, Sir John
Bottomley, Peter (Eltham) Harvey, Nick
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia Haselhurst, Alan
Bowden, Andrew Hawkins, Nick
Bowis, John Hawksley, Warren
Boyson, Rt Hon Sir Rhodes Heathcoat-Amory, David
Brandreth, Gyles Hicks, Robert
Brazier, Julian Horam, John
Bright, Graham Hordern, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Brooke, Rt Hon Peter Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thorpes) Howarth, Alan (Strat'rd-on-A)
Browning, Mrs. Angela Howell, Sir Ralph (North
Bruce, Ian (S Dorset) Norfolk)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Hughes Robert G. (Harrow W)
Burns, Simon Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Burt, Alistair Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Butcher, John Hunter, Andrew
Butler, Peter Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) Jack, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Carrington, Matthew Jessel, Toby
Carttiss, Michael Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Cash, William Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Clappison, James Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Jones, Robert B. (W Hertfdshr)
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Ruclif) Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Kennedy, Charles (Ross,C&S)
Coe, Sebastian Key, Robert
Congdon, David Kilfedder, Sir James
Conway, Derek King, Rt Hon Tom
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre For'st) Kirkhope, Timothy
Cormack, Patrick Kirkwood, Archy
Couchman, James Knapman, Roger
Cran, James Knight, Mrs Angela (Erewash)
Currie, Mrs Edwina (S D'by'ire) Knight, Greg (Derby N)
Curry, David (Skipton & Ripon) Knight, Dame Jill (Bir'm E'sfn)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Knox, Sir David
Day, Stephen Kynoch, George (Kincardine)
Deva, Nirj Joseph Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Devlin, Tim Lang, Rt Hon Ian
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lester, Jim (Broxtowe)
Dover, Den Lidington, David
Duncan, Alan Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Duncan-Smith, Iain Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Dunn, Bob Lord, Michael
Durant, Sir Anthony Luff, Peter
Dykes, Hugh Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas
Eggar, Tim Lynne, Ms Liz
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatfield) MacGregor, Rt Hon John
Evans, Jonathan (Brecon) MacKay, Andrew
Evans, Nigel (Ribble Valley) Maclean, David
Evans, Roger (Monmouth) McLoughlin, Patrick
Evennett, David McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick
Faber, David Madel, David
Fabricant, Michael Maitland, Lady Olga
Fenner, Dame Peggy Malone, Gerald
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Mans, Keith
Fishburn, Dudley Marland, Paul
Forman, Nigel Marshall, John (Hendon S)
Forsyth, Michael (Stirling) Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Forth, Eric Mates, Michael
Fox, Dr Liam (Woodspring) Mawhinney, Dr Brian
Fox, Sir Marcus (Shipley) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Merchant, Piers Sproat, Iain
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Squire, Robin (Hornchurch)
Mitchell, Sir David (Hants NW) Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Moate, Sir Roger Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Molyneaux, Rt Hon James Steen, Anthony
Monro, Sir Hector Stephen, Michael
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Stern, Michael
Nelson, Anthony Stewart, Allan
Neubert, Sir Michael Streeter, Gary
Nicholls, Patrick Sumberg, David
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Sweeney, Walter
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Sykes, John
Norris, Steve Tapsell, Sir Peter
Oppenheim, Phillip Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Ottaway, Richard Taylor, John M. (Solihull)
Page, Richard Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Paice, James Temple-Morris, Peter
Patnick, Irvine Thomason, Roy
Patten, Rt Hon John Thompson, Sir Donald (C'er V)
Pawsey, James Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Thornton, Sir Malcolm
Pickles, Eric Thurnham, Peter
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexl'yh'th)
Porter, David (Waveney) Trend, Michael
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael Trimble, David
Powell, William (Corby) Twinn, Dr Ian
Rathbone, Tim Tyler, Paul
Redwood, Rt Hon John Viggers, Peter
Rendel, David Walden, George
Renton, Rt Hon Tim Wallace, James
Richards, Rod Waller, Gary
Rifkind, Rt Hon. Malcolm Ward, John
Roberts, Rt Hon Sir Wyn Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)
Robertson, Raymond (Ab'd'n S) Wells, Bowen
Robinson, Mark (Somerton) Wheeler, Rt Hon Sir John
Roe, Mrs Marion (Broxbourne) Whitney. Ray
Rowe, Andrew (Mid Kent) Whittingdale, John
Ryder, Rt Hon Richard Widdecombe, Ann
Sackville, Tom Wilkinson, John
Shaw, David (Dover) Willetts, David
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Wilshire, David
Shephard, Rt Hon Gillian Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Sims, Roger Winterton, Nicholas (Macc'f'ld)
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wolfson, Mark
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Wood, Timothy
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Yeo, Tim
Soames, Nicholas Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Speed, Sir Keith
Spencer, Sir Derek Tellers for the Ayes:
Spicer, Sir James (W Dorset) Mr. David Lightbown and Mr. Sydney Chapman.
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Spink, Dr Robert
Adams, Mrs Irene Brown, N. (N'c'tle upon Tyne E)
Ainger, Nick Byers, Stephen
Ainsworth, Robert (Cov'try NE) Callaghan. Jim
Ashton, Joe Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Austin-Walker, John Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Bayley, Hugh Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Bennett, Andrew F. Canavan, Dennis
Benton, Joe Cann, Jamie
Bermingham, Gerald Clapham, Michael
Bray, Dr Jeremy Clelland, David
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McLeish, Henry
Connarty, Michael McMaster, Gordon
Cousins, Jim Mahon, Alice
Cryer, Bob Mandelson, Peter
Cunningham, Jim (Covy SE) Marshall, Jim (Leicester, S)
Dafis, Cynog Maxton, John
Dalyell, Tarn Meale, Alan
Davidson, Ian Michael, Alun
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Davis, ferry (B'ham, H'dge H'l) Milburn, Alan
Dewar, Donald Miller, Andrew
Dixon, Don Morgan, Rhodri
Dobson, Frank Morley, Elliot
Dowd, Jim Mowlam, Marjorie
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Mudie, George
Eagle, Ms Angela Mullin, Chris
Enright, Derek Murphy, Paul
Etherington, Bill O'Brien, Michael (N W'kshire)
Evans, John (St Helens N) O'Hara, Edward
Ewing, Mrs Margaret Olner, William
Flynn, Paul Pickthall, Colin
Foster, Rt Hon Derek Pike, Peter L.
Foulkes, George Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Fyfe, Maria Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lew'm E)
Gerrard, Neil Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Golding, Mrs Llin Primarolo, Dawn
Gordon, Mildred Purchase, Ken
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Quin, Ms Joyce
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Raynsford, Nick
Gunnell, John Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Hain, Peter Rogers, Allan
Hall, Mike Rooker, Jeff
Hardy, Peter Rowlands, Ted
Hill, Keith (Streatham) Ruddock, Joan
Hinchliffe, David Salmond, Alex
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Short, Clare
Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd) Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Soley, Clive
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Spellar, John
Hutton, John Steel, Rt Hon Sir David
Jackson, Glenda (H'stead) Strang, Dr. Gavin
Jackson, Helen (Shef'ld, H) Taylor. Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Jones, Barry (Alyn and D'side) Tipping, Paddy
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Turner, Dennis
Jones, Lynne (B'ham S O) Walley, Joan
Jowell, Tessa Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Keen, Alan Watson, Mike
Kennedy, Jane (Lpool Brdgn) Welsh, Andrew
Khabra, Piara S. Wicks, Malcolm
Lewis, Terry Williams, Alan W (Carmarthen)
Litherland, Robert Wilson, Brian
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Winnick, David
Llwyd, Elfyn Wise, Audrey
Loyden, Eddie Worthington, Tony
McAllion, John Wright, Dr Tony
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, Ian Tellers for the Noes:
McFall, John Mr. Peter Kilfoyle and Mr. Eric Illsley.
McKelvey, William
Mackinlay, Andrew

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed, with amendments.