§ Mr. Home Robertson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which grades of wool have had a reduction of Wool Marketing Board schedule price since 1979; what the reductions have been; what is his analysis of the reasons; and if he will take steps to compensate sheep farmers for the reduction in their incomes.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
The price schedule for different grades of wool purchased by the British Wool Marketing Board is a matter for the board to determine on the basis of the guaranteed price. As my right hon. Friend announced on 20 March, the guaranteed price has been increased for 1980–81 from 112p per kilogramme to 115p per kilogramme. The board has estimated that the published price schedule for 1980 will pay an average of 95.41p per kilogramme for fleece wool, compared with its 1979 estimate of 102.5p per kilo-660W gramme. This reflects an increase in the board's deduction for marketing costs which is greater than the increase in the guaranteed price.
The wool guarantee is a stabilisation arrangement and does not necessarily compensate producers for a reduction in income.