HC Deb 18 April 1975 vol 890 cc188-90W
Mr. Small

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the difficulties currently being experienced by United Kingdom exporters of goods containing sugar as a result of the cost of their raw materials under the United Kingdom price equalisation scheme; and what steps he proposes to take thereon.

Mr. Peart

The price equalisation scheme was introduced on 4th November last year as a result of the rising price of supplies of Commonwealth raw sugar with the objective of avoiding distortions of competition in the food industry and inequity between different groups of consumers. The scheme has achieved this objective, but recent price and supply developments have resulted in a situation in which there has been distortion of the competitive position of United Kingdom exporters of sugar-containing goods. The Government are, therefore, taking steps, in agreement with the other parties to the scheme, to adjust the operation of the scheme so as to remove this distortion. Pending future decisions on the management of the price equalisation scheme the arrangement I have mentioned will be funded by means of an advance through the Sugar Board which administers the price equalisation scheme. In making this advance I shall be relying on the authority of the Estimates and the confirming Appropriation Act. Supplementary Estimates will be presented in due course, and meanwhile I shall have recourse to the Contingencies Fund. The Government are also having active discussions with the industry to encourage and facilitate the use of inward processing arrangements to help in removing this distortion of competition.

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