HC Deb 17 February 1965 vol 706 cc219-20W
38. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of the 1964 Scottish potato crop now remains on farms; and how this compares with the position at a similar date in each of the last two years.

Mr. Ross

At 31st December, 1964, the latest date for which figures are available, 59 per cent. of the 1964 Scottish potato crop was held on farms. At 31st December, 1963, 52 per cent. of the 1963 crop and at 31st December, 1962, 53 per cent. of the 1962 crop were held on farms.

Mr. G. Campbell

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Government will now authorise the use by the Potato Marketing Board of the support fund, although the United Kingdom average price has not yet dropped below the guaranteed price, in view of the situation in the north of Scotland and in order to stabilise the market before a worse situation develops.

Mr. Ross

The Joint Market Support Fund was established for use to strengthen the market for potatoes in years of heavy surplus and low prices throughout Great Britain and not to deal with regional market weaknesses. My right hon. Friend, the Minister of Agriculture, and I are not so far satisfied that the situation in the national market justified the use of this fund. We are however keeping the situation under careful review.