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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he takes to ensure that the particular circumstances of Scottish farmers are adequately considered when fixing guaranteed prices at the Annual Price Review.
Economic and statistical data about the current position of Scottish farming are compiled by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland for each Annual Price Review and Scottish farmers are represented at the Review by senior office bearers of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland. My right hon. Friend maintains close touch during the course of the Review and senior officers of the Department participate throughout.
Is it not a fact that no Scottish Minister takes part, on behalf of the Government, in these discussions? If so, is adequate care taken to assess the particular difficulties of Scottish farmers; and is this not a case for having a separate Price Review?
Certainly. The material that is compiled on the profitability of different farms in Scotland comes from independent surveys carried out by the agricultural colleges. These figures are discussed and agreed in advance of the Review by all concerned, including the economists of the Department, the farmers' representatives and others.