§ Mr. Woodburn
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average price per pound of beef of similar description in the retail shops of Scotland and England, respectively; and what is the reason for the relatively higher price in Scotland.
§ Mr. Peart:
I regret that there are no official statistics on which a reply could be based; it would in any case be extremely difficult to make meaningful comparisons of average retail beef prices in England and Scotland. Allowance has to be made for differences in cutting practice not themselves uniform in either country, and there are considerable variations between individual shops in quality and trimming, in the local demand for and therefore the relative prices of various cuts, and in the credit and delivery services provided.
I should, however, expect retail prices in Scotland to be affected by the generally higher level of fat cattle prices. Recently, for example, the average for certified cattle has been some 5 per cent. higher in Scotland than in England and Wales.
§ Mr. William Hamilton
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his attention has been drawn to the increased meat prices in Scotland; and if he will inquire into the reasons for such increases.
§ Mr. Peart:
There have been substantial increases since October in fatstock and wholesale prices, partly seasonal and partly because foot-and-mouth disease restrictions have made distribution of home-killed meat more difficult and expensive. Retail prices have been affected to the extent that individual traders, whether in Scotland or elsewhere, have not found it possible to absorb those additional costs.