HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc63-4W
Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) from what countries he anticipates that butter will be imported into this country following the suspension of quotas; and if he will give details of import arrangements entered into with foreign suppliers;

(2) for what period he has suspended quotas on imported butter into the United Kingdom.

Mr. Prior

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has announced that traders holding open individual licences may now import butter freely into the United Kingdom from any country in the world other than Southern Rhodesia. I anticipate that some butter, which could not be imported under quota, may now be imported from countries having no quota such as the United States of America and Canada, from countries with small quotas such as Belgium and from private traders' stocks of butter not always in the country of origin. These arrangements supplement the import quotas announced on 17th March and our principal suppliers were consulted about them. No other import arrangements have been entered into with foreign suppliers.

Open individual licences are valid in the first instance for butter imported into the United Kingdom before 1st July. The supply situation will be reviewed in good time for a decision to be taken whether any extension is necessary.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total figure of butter stocks held in this country on 1st June, 1970, 1st January, 1971, and on the latest convenient date.

Mr. Prior

The butter stock in public and Government-owned cold stores in the United Kingdom was:

1st June, 1970 75,600
1st January, 1971 18,200
23rd April, 1971 61,400