HC Deb 15 March 1983 vol 39 cc118-20W
Mr. William Ross

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what was the average annual gross income for an adult farm worker in Northern Ireland in each of the past five years to the latest available date; and what was the annual gross income of an adult industrial workers in those years;

(2) what is the present level of indebtedness of Northern Ireland farmers in respect of (a) farm buildings, (b) farm machinery, (c) farm stock purchases and (d) in total; and what were the figures at 31 March 1978 in cash and real terms;

(3) what was the estimated net income of Northern Ireland farmers in each of the five years until the latest available date; and what net profit this represents per farm business in Northern Ireland;

(4) what was the total capital employed on Northern Ireland farms in each of the five financial years to the latest available date; and what was the value of total farm output in each of those years, ex-farm gate, giving the figures in cash terms and in real terms taking the first year as 100.

Mr. Adam Butler

The following table gives the average annual gross earnings of full-time hired male workers aged 20 and over in agriculture compared with the average annual earnings of full-time male manual workers aged 21 and over in index of production industries.

Full-time hired workers in agriculture* Full-time manual workers in index of production industries
£ £
1977 2,381 3,474
1978 2,581 3,942
1979 2,988 4,524
1980 3,596 5,346
1981 3,870 5,975
‡1982 4,165 6,245
* These figures relate to calendar years and include overtime and "payments in kind".
† Annual earnings including overtime calculated by multiplying the weekly earnings in April by 52 in manufacturing industry, mining and quarrying, construction and gas, electricity and water.
‡ Provisional.

The indebtedness of farmers cannot be categorised in the ways requested. The estimated total borrowing by the agricultural industry at November 1982 and at February 1978 is as follows:

Total borrowing including land purchase
Current prices£ million *1978 prices£ million
February 1978 90 90
November 1982 190 111
* Using retail price index.

The estimated Farming Income of Northern Ireland agriculture is as follows. Net profit estimates are not made.

Net income £ million
1977 67.1
1978 65.0
1979 34.5
1980 14.2
1981 62.6
1982 *
* Not available.

Estimates of the capital employed on Northern Ireland farms are not available on an annual basis. The net stock after allowing for depreciation of capital in building and works and plant, machinery and vehicles on farms is believed to be in the region of £1,000 million at current prices.

The value of gross output of Northern Ireland agriculture is as follows:

Gross output at current prices£ million Index of gross output 1977=100 Volume of gross output at constant prices 1977=100
1977 446.6 100 100
1978 501.1 104 107
1979 529.1 96 105
1980 548.2 85 108
1981 605.4 84 108