§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why he agreed a price rise for sugar farmers at the recent Council of Ministers meeting, in the light of the 25 per cent. surplus sugar production within the European Economic Community.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
The effective way of reducing sugar surpluses would have been for the Council of Ministers to have agreed to the original proposals of the Commission that sugar quotas should be reduced.
The Commission decided not to press this proposal in the light of representations made by other Ministers that this year's crop was already growing and, therefore, such quotas would not have reduced the surplus this year.
Britain remained a supporter of the reduction in quotas but there was no possibility of this being accepted by the Council of Ministers.
I did have minuted in the minutes of the Council the view of the British Government that it was important that this autumn proposals were agreed for next year's crop which would assist in tackling the problem of the present surpluses.