HC Deb 10 March 1966 vol 725 cc619-20W
Sir W. Bromley-Davenport

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the import arrangements for butter for the year beginning 1st April, 1966.

Mr. Jay

The Government have decided to continue the quota system for imports of butter for a further twelve months, beginning 1st April, 1966. Stocks of butter in this country and in Europe are considerably higher than a year ago; and, given normal weather, butter supplies are expected to be plentiful.

The total of imports to be authorised initially will be 435,500 tons. Basic quotas will be 421,230 tons in total. In the light of their supply prospects, the basic quotas of Kenya and South Africa have been suspended and that of Argentina has been reduced to 6,000 tons without prejudice to their position in future years. In the context of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement, the basic quota of the Irish Republic has been increased from 12,905 tons to 23,000 tons. Otherwise basic quotas are the same as in the year beginning 1st April, 1965, 5,500 tons in addition to basic quotas and 8,770 tons to offset the reductions and suspensions of basic quotas of certain countries are being authorised for delivery in the period April-November from countries with basic quotas who have estimated that they may have such additional butter.

The butter situation will be reviewed in the summer with the New Zealand and Australian Governments to enable the United Kingdom Government to determine whether to provide for the import of up to 5,000 tons more. New Zealand and Australia, whose heaviest shipments arrive in the period December-March, would be given first opportunity to fill any allocations then issued in accordance with their entitlement to proportionate shares of total permitted imports.

The intention of these arrangements is to achieve a level of supplies sufficient to maintain a stable and reasonable level of prices.