Mr. Wm. Ross
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is the number of beef animal carcases held in intervention in the United Kingdom and in the EEC;
(2) what is his estimate for each member country of the EEC of the stocks of beef held in intervention: and what is his estimate of the amount held in Eire which originated in Northern Ireland.
§ Mr. Bishop:
The total quantity of beef held by the United Kingdom intervention agency at present is 34.75 tons. This stock consists of 510 forequarters and 60 hindquarters.
Statistics of intervention stocks in other EEC countries are not kept by my Department but by the European Commission. According to the latest information, total stocks of beef held by intervention agencies in other member countries in mid-February were as follows:
('000metric tons) Total West Germany 74 Belgium 5 Denmark 26 France 101 Italy 27 Republic of Ireland 72 Luxembourg Nil Netherlands 3
These stocks may be held in the form of carcases, half or quarter carcases, boneless cuts, or canned preserves. Information about the quantity held in the form of carcases is not available.
No official estimate is available of the quantity of beef held in intervention in the Republic of Ireland which originated in Northern Ireland.,
Mr. Wm Ross
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken to reduce the intervention stocks of beef in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Bishop:
Arrangements for the sale of 14.26 tons of beef purchased prior to 1st January 1975 by the Intervention
£ million 1973–74 1974–75 (forecast) 1975–76 (estimate) National Grants and Subsidies … … 306.4 295.5 222.4 Market Regulation under the CAP … … 85.6 192.5 83.6
The estimates for 1975–76 do not take account of the determinations made as a result of the annual review nor of the decisions on EEC farm suport reached at the Council of Ministers on 10th, 11th and 12th February. In my right hon. Friend's statement on 17th February he said that the EEC beef premium arrangements would cost up to about £135 million in 1975–76. He also explained that the increase in the level of support in the sheep sector was estimated to cost about £34 million, including £9 million—already taken into account in Table 25 of Cmnd. 5977–for continuing last December's hill sheep subsidy increases.
It is difficult to quantify the effect of this expenditure on retail prices. However, to the extent that it helps to encourage efficient domestic production, it serves to contain food prices. Furthermore, some of the expenditure shown in the table is specifically designed to keep down food prices; this includes £103.2 million for the price guarantees for milk in 1973–74 to hold down the retail price of milk—in the subsequent years such expenditure was transferred to the food subsidies programme—and Community financed subsidies on a wide range of food imports.