Wheat

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 James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft 12:00 am, 29th November 1967

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what effect imports of soft wheat are having on prices of home-grown wheat.

Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith

It is impossible to isolate the effect of imports on domestic market prices, but before devaluation these were running at a generally lower level than last year.

Photo of Mr James Prior Mr James Prior , Lowestoft

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that there was more home production this year, and therefore we needed imports less? Apart from that, does not he think it is time that his right hon. Friend and he had a fresh look at agricultural policy, instead of coming to the House with the negative and complacent attitude which they have produced up to now?

Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith

I was interested to see the hon. Gentleman reading that supplementary question. Let me say in reply that our home crop is up by 400,000 tons. The hon. Gentleman will remember that at the last Annual Price Review we put the guaranteed price up by 10s. a ton. The farmer's protection is the minimum import price, and let the hon. Gentleman remember that even the E.E.C. took steps not to impair that.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind, in regard to all his import policy, that he is serving the Ministry of food as well as agriculture, and will he bear in mind, too, the cost to housewives as well as the interests of farmers?

Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith

I have said this before in the House, that what we have to endeavour to do is to be fair to our home producers, and at the same time take steps to protect the housewife who is the purchaser of all these goods.

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

Is not the British producer of cereals the lowest cost producer in the world?

Photo of Mr James Hoy Mr James Hoy , Edinburgh Leith

I am not arguing against that. What I said in reply to my hon. Friend was that when prices are being fixed it is the duty of this Ministry, whichever Government are in power, to look after the interests of both the producer and the consumer.