HC Deb 22 March 1972 vol 833 cc335-6W
Mr. Woof

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what safeguards exist in the European Economic Community for consumers against the high prices of many foodstuffs caused by the system of levies inherent in the common agricultural policy of the European Economic Community.

Mr. Prior

The implementation of the common agricultural policy is subject to the objectives of the Treaty of Rome, one of which is to ensure supplies of foodstuffs for consumers at reasonable prices. There is no harmonisation of retail prices in the Community, and I am confident that United Kingdom food prices will remain among the lowest in Europe.

Mr. Lamond

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will now prepare a revised estimate of the increase in food prices in the first six months after Great Britain's entry into the European Economic Community.

Mr. Prior

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Ashton) and others on 29th February, 1972.—[Vol. 832, c. 226–7.]

Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on his discussions in Brussels during the week of Monday, 13th March, on the higher contributions by Great Britain into the Common Market's Central Fund; to what extent the Commission's proposal of an average 8 per cent. increase in farm prices will increase Great Britain's contribution and costs on entry into the European Economic Community; and how this will be affected if the 11 per cent. to 12 per cent. as proposed by the Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations are adopted.

Mr. Prior

I have had no such discussions. We shall be consulted under the interim period arrangements on the Community's agricultural price and structure proposals once they are formulated. Questions about the United Kingdom contribution to Community funds are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

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