Expansion Programme

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd March 1967.

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Photo of Mr Derek Page Mr Derek Page , King's Lynn 12:00 am, 22nd March 1967

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made in the past two years in the agricultural expansion programme.

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

This is set out in the Annual Review and Determination of Guarantees 1967 White Paper (Cmnd. 3229) published last week.

Photo of Mr Derek Page Mr Derek Page , King's Lynn

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if progress is to be stimulated farmers need assurance about their future incomes as far as possible, and there is concern about what their incomes will be if we go into the Common Market? Will he, therefore, take steps to inquire what farm incomes are in the Common Market countries, which is something that we do not know at present?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The latter question is completely different from the Question on the Order Paper. I shall be delighted to answer my hon. Friend if he puts down another Question. I have answered the original Question. The White Paper is there. My Review determinations are designed to that effect.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

Reverting to the original Question, can the right hon. Gentleman say how far short of his expectations production has fallen as a result of the stagnation to which he himself referred last Sunday on television?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

If the hon. Gentleman has read the White Paper, he will see that I stated frankly there that in the dairy sector the herd has not expanded. I said also that because of the working of the flexible guarantee system over a period we have had a severe cut-back in pig production and, therefore, the Review was designed to stimulate it. I was frank with the House, and it is in the White Paper.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

If it is in the White Paper, will the right hon. Gentleman explain why he did not refer his hon. Friend the Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Derek Page) to paragraph 11, in which it can be seen clearly that the correct answer to the question was, "None, Sir"?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

The right hon. Gentleman is trying to spread his usual woe and dismay. I am surprised at him.

Photo of Mr Archibald Manuel Mr Archibald Manuel , Central Ayrshire

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his rational and enlightened approach to agricultural problems commends itself to hon. Members on this side of the House and to the vast majority of people in the country?

Photo of Mr Thomas Peart Mr Thomas Peart , Workington

I thank my hon. Friend, but I think that the House must be aware that hon. Members opposite are so politically prejudiced that they will not accept that this is a good Review.