HL Deb 16 July 1964 vol 260 cc393-4

3.48 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, I will do my best to answer Lord Stonham's major and minor questions, though I expect to have more success with the first than with the second. In reply to his minor question there has to be reference to rye oats and mixed corn in this Order because it is a consolidating Order and therefore repeats the provisions of previous Orders. The noble Lord said that I had failed to explain the Order; he said so no doubt with justice. I wholeheartedly agree with him in saying that this is extremely complicated, but I hope the farmer will know more about it than the noble Lord thinks. He will certainly know both the standard quantity and the target indicator price at the time of the Annual Review announcement each year. The target indicator price is tied directly to the minimum import price. What happens is that the target indicator price is "declared" at the beginning of the cereals year; it is "determined" at the end, because in between it may be that the minimum import price will change and therefore adjustments have to be made at the end of the year in accordance with any possible changes in minimum import price affecting the target indicator price.

As regards the farmers' understanding of this system, the 1964 White Paper contains a full description of the new arrangements. A simplified statement was issued in the form of a leaflet distributed to all cereal growers at the beginning of May and there was a good descriptive article in the edition of British Farmer of July 4. I myself did my best to describe, at what appeared to me to be absolutely intolerable length, this system in my winding-up speech in the Review debate—for which I cannot give the Hansard reference at the moment. In the unlikely event of the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, wishing me to do that piece of research, I would glady do so. I referred in that to page 42 of the White Paper where three examples are given, which I think do more than I can do today to illustrate the way the system will work and the need for it. I do not think the noble Lord would wish me to go into greater detail than that to-day, but if he wishes we could, as we have done on other occasions, put our heads together and try to understand it between us. But I think that, if he reads the publications and official documents that I have named, he will understand the Order better than he does at the moment and certainly as well as I do.


My Lords, I am most grateful.

On Question, Motion agreed to.