HC Deb 29 July 1974 vol 878 cc61-2W
Mr. Stephen Ross

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in negotiations within the EEC to help horticulturists with their fuel costs in 1975.

Mr. Ancram

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will urge the Council of Ministers to adopt a digressive aid policy to ensure that glasshouse producers are more able to withstand the effect of energy price increases.

Mr. Bishop

The Council of Ministers decided at its meeting on 15th-16th July, at which my right hon. Friend was present, to note the Commission' report on the changed conditions of competition arising from the new situation in the energy market. This report, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House, laid down guidelines on acceptable levels of temporary aid, which apply to all member States. The amount of aid may not exceed 50 per cent. of the increase in fuel prices—between 1st September 1973 and the moment when the measure is decided—reckoned for a quantity of energy products not exceeding the recipient's normal consumption in one growing season. I am satisfied that the common interest is best served by adhering to those guidelines, and the subsidy which my right hon. Friend announced on 11th April does so.

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