HC Deb 31 July 1964 vol 699 cc456-7W
Mr. Boston

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the general anxiety of the horticultural industry at the fact that while Her Majesty's Government is providing under the Agriculture and Horticulture Act 1964, sums to improve production it has left open the extent to which the industry might be affected adversely by imports; and what long-term steps he is now taking to prevent this.

Mr. Soames

I am not aware that there is any general anxiety in the industry. As I pointed out in a statement in the House on 27th November last, the effect of the substantial aid to reduce costs of production and improve marketing for which the Act now provides should enable the horticultural industry the better to compete with imports. To this extent its dependence on the tariff would be reduced, but I made it clear that a period of some four years would be needed before reductions in tariffs on products sensitive to overseas competition could be considered. I also said that, in considering possible tariff reductions, as well as any safeguards that may be necessary against abnormal competition from imports, the Government would take the views of the industry fully into account.