Horticulture (Fuel Oil Surcharge)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North 12:00 am, 29th November 1967

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what additional costs will fall on to horticulturists during the current financial year as a result of the surcharge on fuel oil.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what additional costs will be incurred by the agricultural industry during the current financial year as a result of the surcharge on fuel oil.

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

It is estimated that in the financial year ending 31st March, 1968, the 2d. per gallon surcharge on fuel oil may increase agricultural and horticultural costs by about £2½ million of which about £0·4 million relates to oil used for glasshouse heating.

Photo of Mr Robert Elliott Mr Robert Elliott , Newcastle upon Tyne North

Will the hon. Gentleman make quite sure that the officials in his Department looking into the effects of devaluation on the agriculture industry alone will take into account the extra burden which the hard-pressed horticultural industry will experience through devaluation?

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Since not even this Government would suggest burning coal in agricultural tractors, why can they not remove the fuel oil tax altogether from agriculture?

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

Agriculture has to bear its fair share of any increases like these which, because of the Middle East situation, are almost unavoidable. For agriculture, they are taken into account in the Price Review.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

In that last Answer, is the hon. Gentleman telling us that horticulture will be reimbursed in the next Price Review?

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) asked me specifically about agriculture, and I replied about agriculture. If the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) is asking me about horticulture now, I am prepared to answer him. The right hon. Gentleman obviously did not listen to what his hon. Friend asked me. There is the Horticulture Improvement Scheme to help the horticulture industry, and it is taking tremendous advantage of it to the tune of about £5½ million a year.