§ Sir C. Osborne
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that lambs were sold last week in the Louth Cattle Market at 2s. 2½d. per lb. as compared with 2s. 8½d. per lb. a year ago, that beef fetched only 2s. 6d. against 3s., and that breeders are going out of the industry because of their heavy losses; and what new steps he is taking to put this situation right.
§ Mr. John Mackie
During the week commencing 7th November, certified lambs at Louth market sold at between 2s. 1d. and 2s. 7d. per lb., averaging about 2s. 4¼d., and certified cattle sold at between 116s. and 164s. per live cwt., averaging about 140s.
Market prices generally are now lower than at the corresponding time last year. But because of this the deficiency payment which producers receive is higher, so that overall returns from market and guarantee together are at present only a little lower than they were a year ago. This lower return arises because the deficiency payment is subject to an abatement; but as my right hon. Friend told the House on 3rd November he is proposing to give preferential treatment in distributing the expected end-of-year payment under the Graduated Deficiency Payments Scheme to those who have marketed their cattle in the period of market depression through which we are passing.
We shall, of course be looking at profitability and prospects for cattle and sheep along with other relevant factors, as we always do, at the Annual Review.—[Vol. 735, c. 700.]