HC Deb 26 June 1968 vol 767 cc77-8W
42. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much soft wheat has been imported into the United Kingdom during the last two calendar months; and how much is on firm contract up to the end of August, 1968.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

Official trade statistics do not distinguish soft wheat, but taking it to refer to Continental wheat, I estimate that about 130,000 tons was imported in April and May and that about 120,000 tons is on contract to arrive in June, July and August. These amounts include wheat imported for animal feed.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that the current imports of French wheat are depressing the market for grain, and that this wheat is being imported below its cost of production; and what action he now proposes to take as a result of his discussions on this matter.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

Imports of French wheat in the current crop year look like being about the same as they were on average over the four previous crop years. Although imports of French wheat are heavily subsidised, the return to United Kingdom producers is safeguarded by the guarantee system. Discussions are continuing about an increase in the minimum import prices following devaluation and I will make an announcement as soon as these are completed.