European Economic Community

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin 12:00 am, 29th February 1972

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is his intention to allocate funds specifically for the purpose of enabling horticulturists to carry out essential re-structuring programmes to meet the new patterns of demands that will result from United Kingdom membership of the European Economic Community; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

Grants towards investment in horticultural buildings and equipment are available under the Horticulture Improvement Scheme. My right hon. Friend has made it clear that he is prepared to consider some special help for growers who will face special problems as a result of entry into the European Economic Community. This is under discussion with growers' representatives.

Photo of Mr Robert Hicks Mr Robert Hicks , Bodmin

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the horticultural industry there is a growing realisation that certain sectors will do well and that, consequently, they are looking to my hon. Friend's Department to give tangible support to their plans in order to make the necessary reorientation and then for the subsequent expansion in production?

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

The other day I listened to the convener of the N.F.U. Horticulture Committee expressing great optimism for many sections of the horticultural industry. The industry is resilient and resolute. My right hon. Friend has never failed to say that there will be different sectors, just as he has said that he is prepared to consider any special difficulties put to him.

Photo of Mr Edward Leadbitter Mr Edward Leadbitter , Hartlepools, The

The right hon. Gentleman has said that he is prepared to give special help for special problems. Now that we are to consider the European Communities Bill in a Committee of the whole House today, to what extent does the right hon. Gentleman intend to give hon. Members information about special help for special problems and other up-dated information, so that hon. Members may make use of it during the course of discussions on Amendments?

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

That is a matter which might be elucidated during the course of discussions on the Bill, if the questions are in order.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he intends to announce how the European Economic Communities system for fixing target prices for cereals of prescribed qualities in the opening months of the season in the area of the greatest deficit will be adapted for this country; and what will constitute the area of greatest deficit in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

As soon as the necessary consultations with our farming and other interests and with the European Economic Commission have been completed. In the meanwhile we cannot anticipate how the new system will be applied.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

Does my hon. Friend agree that very little is known about the intervention system for cereals as applied to this country? For instance, will Duisburg be the area of greatest deficit for us or will the location be in the United Kingdom? Will he tell us when these negotiations are likely to be concluded, and when he expects to be able to explain the position?

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

As my hon. Friend knows, we shall have common prices within the Community by 1978. There will be six steps. There have not been any discussions yet, and I should not wish to prejudice them by giving a specific answer or making speculations.