HC Deb 20 May 1974 vol 874 cc21-2W
Mr. John Ellis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, in the negotiations on Regulation No. 1411/71, which came into effect when the United Kingdom joined the EEC, he will take such steps as are necessary to safeguard the British dairy industry against the expenditure that this regulation might entail; and when he expects the negotiations to be concluded.

Mr. Peart

EEC Regulation 1411/71, which lays down a minimum butter fat standard for whole milk of 3.5 per cent., was already in force when the United Kingdom joined the EEC. The Treaty of Accession authorises whole milk with a fat content of less than 3.5 per cent. to be supplied to consumers in the United Kingdom until 31st December 1975. Other member States are now seeking to postpone implementation of the 3.5 per cent. fat standard until the same date. The subject is on the agenda for the 20th-21st May meeting of the Council of Ministers. I will be considering the matter further in the light of the discussions at that meeting.

Mr. John Ellis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the cost to the United Kingdom dairy industry of full implementation of Regulation No. 1411/71 of the EEC.

Mr. Buchan

Precise estimates are not possible. The industry has estimated capital expenditure at around £7.5 million and operating costs between 0.2p and 0.5p per gallon—between about £3 million and £8 million a year. It also estimates that butter production might be increased by about 15,000 and 20,000 tons.

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