87. Mr. J. T. Price
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that redundancies and loss of earnings are being experienced by workers employed in the wholesale meat, slaughtering, bacon curing, and meat processing industries, due to shortage of supplies, and that these shortages are being created by the uncontrolled incursion of continental buyers into the livestock markets in many parts of the country; and, in view of these facts, what action he now proposes to take to remedy this situation.
§ Mr. Soames
I am not aware that the level of meat supplies is having any general effect on employment in these industries. Indeed, during the period January-May this year more cattle, sheep and pigs were slaughtered than in the corresponding period last year. I have already expressed the opinion—and was supported by the United Kingdom Joint Consultative Council for the Meat Trade—that if we were to try to insulate our cattle markets from world trade we would risk increasing diversion to the Continent of the beef imports that are needed, not least by our meat processing industry.