Fertilisers

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 Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim 12:00 am, 29th November 1967

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the extra cost to the agricultural industry of fertilisers during the current financial year as a result of a reduced rate of subsidy and an increase in manufacturers' prices; and what effect on the use of fertilisers by farmers he estimates this will have.

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

The 6 per cent. increase in fertiliser prices last March and the reduction in subsidy rates from 1st June are estimated to add about £7½ million to farmers' fertiliser costs in the current financial year. The temporary surcharge on nitrogen could add a further £1½ million if it continues to the end of the financial year. Demand for fertilisers remains buoyant and these additions in farmers' prices are not expected to have any appreciable effect on their use in the rest of the year.

Photo of Mr Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim

Even accepting that the Minister's very optimistic reply is correct, how does he tie that in with his right hon. Friend's statement that the Government are not stopping the expansion of agriculture?

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

I do not quite follow that supplementary question. I do not think that my right hon. Friend said that, in any case. As I say, the demand for fertilisers is buoyant. I do not want to weary the House with figures, but the demand is rising every year, apart from 1965–66. This year, the estimate is to the tune of 1,638,000 nutrient tons.

Photo of Mr John Hill Mr John Hill , South Norfolk

Does that figure include horticultural production? If it does, would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, if the added cost is not recouped under existing procedures, that is an additional reason for aiding horticulture?

Photo of Mr John Mackie Mr John Mackie , Enfield East

My reply to the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) applies to this Question as well.