Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the price of wool exerts a significant influence on the number of hill ewes? Why has the price of black-faced wool been reduced by 3d. per lb. and of Cheviot and half-bred wool by 2d. per lb. in the last week or two? Does he not agree that this is an intolerable reduction and shows further double-talk on the Price Review?
That might have been useful if the hon. Gentleman had put down a specific question on the matter of wool. As regards the number of hill ewes, one of the most important factors involved is the weather, and not even this Government have been able to control the weather. On the question of Government resources for development, it will be remembered that we raised the end price for sheep by 8¾d. and that the Conservative Party reduced it.
Some increase in cattle production on hill and upland farms is expected in 1970 compared with 1969. The level of sheep production will depend on this year's lamb crop, which cannot yet be forecast.
Is it not, therefore, extremely disappointing that the price of wool has now remained the same for the last 10 years? Will the hon. Gentleman look at this matter as sympathetically as he can?
Yes, Sir. It is curious how hon. Members opposite pick on one aspect. If they look at the increases in end price and the hill sheep subsidy, the winter keep scheme, the hill land improvement scheme, and the introduction of the new upland hill sheep subsidy, they will find that all these are worth noting. I wish they would get the wool out of their eyes and look at this.