HC Deb 06 March 1986 vol 93 c257W
39. Mr. Teddy Taylor

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will propose at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers that the supplies of cheap food at present being sent to the Soviet Union and East Europe should be made available to pensioners and low-income families in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer

A major objective of Government policy towards the common agricultural policy (CAP) is to tackle the problem of costly surpluses at source by bringing about a better market balance of supply and demand.

While surpluses continue to exist, however, the problem of their cost-effective disposal remains. Several Community schemes already exist which enable food supplies to be made available at reduced prices. In considering any extension account has to be taken of the likely cost and effectiveness. The most economical way of disposing of stocks is often to sell them on the world market with the benefit of export refunds to bridge the gap between Community and world prices. Where there are surpluses for export the Government remain opposed to singling out particular countries for special treatment.