HC Deb 23 January 1975 vol 884 cc427-8W
Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what cost increases United Kingdom beef farmers have experienced over the last year; and to what extent this has been recouped by prices received for other products.

Mr. Peart

It is not possible to generalise about cost increases in the production of beef in view of the very wide variety of systems and conditions of production. Beef is produced with a variety of other products and it is not possible to assess the extent to which increased costs of beef production may have been recouped by increased returns from other products.

Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will

Mr. Peart

Statistical returns for slaughterings do not differentiate heifers in calf from other heifer slaughterings. Cow and bull slaughterings also are included together, although the proportion of bulls is very small. The information is as follows:

'000 head
1972 1973 1974*
Steers 1,987.0 1,857.2 2,208.5
Heifers 786.9 691.9 942.7
Cows and Bulls 707.4 745.3 1,036.6
Calves 152.6 141.7 415.8
* Provisional.

Source: MAFF—Returns from public and licensed slaughterhouses.

Mr. Pym

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much the slaughter premium and the variable premium have now cost the Exchequer; and to what extent this cost has been borne by the EEC Agricultural Fund.

Mr. Bishop

The details relating to payments made up to 10th January 1975 are as follows:

make a statement on his long-term plans for the beef industry, indicating what level of guaranteed prices producers will receive in the coming years; and if he will undertake that when this guarantee is implemented he will not revert to the situation between March and November 1974, when there was no guarantee to beef producers.

Mr. Peart

Discussions of these issues will be resumed at the next meeting of the Council of Agricultural Ministers on 10th to 11th February.