I do not think that it does so at all. Intervention worked in this country in many areas of agricultural production under a Labour Government, when I was Minister previously, and it worked under the great Tom Williams. Intervention is not a new concept. What I have tried to explain to some of my hon. Friends is that we do not regard permanent intervention in the beef sector as a correct method of support. For that reason I negotiated a variable premium system with a limited form of intervention, and it will work.
That matter has been considered, but hon. Members must realise that for some countries in the Community—not us; I am thinking specifically of France and Germany—the price award means a cut in real terms.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that intervention has a part to play, but does he agree that it is a very expensive system? Is there not abundant evidence of a good many rackets in intervention—for example, beef carcases that have been slaughtered in this country going to the Continent and being moved from one country to another, eventually going into intervention in a country far away from their origin? Has that situation been considered by the Ministers when they have met? If so, what do they intend to do about it?
Such matters have been considered. Of course, people try various dodges and it is often difficult to trace the person concerned. We are aware that there is a problem, and naturally we are trying to stamp it out.
I revert to the cost of storage. Will my right hon. Friend tell us whether the proposed storage scheme for protein will be a charge on the Exchequer or on the consumer? Will he clarify the present position concerning that directive and its costs to the House now?
Is it possible for the deposits on proteins to be recovered? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that up to a week or 10 days ago it was not possible for those who put down their deposits to recover them?