§ 63. Mr. Godman Irvine
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the efficiency factor was first introduced into the Price Review negotiations; what changes in its level have been made; and by what criteria the present figure of £25 million was fixed.
§ Mr. Peart
The increasing efficiency of the agricultural industry has always been taken into account, along with cost changes and other relevant factors, at 221W Annual Reviews under the Agriculture Act, 1947. A figure of from £15 million to £20 million was used in 1950 as an indication of the value of increasing efficiency for Review commodities. The present figure of £30 million for the industry as a whole, or about 2 per cent. of the annual value of gross output, was adopted in 1955, together with a figure of £25 million for Review commodities alone. These were not precise figures but served as a broad indication of the amount which the industry might be expected to secure from improvements in efficiency, taking one year with another. They were consistent with the trend of farming net income, after allowing for changes in prices and costs, and when reviewed in 1960 they were found to be in broad agreement with estimates of changes in productivity and in the scale of operations in agriculture. As announced in this year's Review White Paper, the figures for the gain in efficiency will be reconsidered before the next Review.