No formal proposals have yet been tabled by the Commission. However, reports of what these proposals might be indicate discrimination against the United Kingdom and in such a form they would be unacceptable.
That is precisely the issue that concerns us. We are especially concerned about the years of production on which it appears the Commission might base its proposals for quotas. They are years when, for weather and other reasons, production in Britain was at a much lower level than average.
Is my right hon. Friend aware of the importance of the sugar beet industry to Norfolk and of how much resentment there will be if there is any unfair cutback of acreages in Britain alone?
Yes. Criticisms have been made to the effect that our industry is in some respects less efficient than that of other member States. Those criticisms fail to take account of the fact that when input is related to output, in economic terms we have an efficient sugar beet producing industry.
We are taking advice from a number of quarters, as did our predecessors. Much of the advice is conflicting, on both sides of the argument. We shall come to a decision on our best consideration of the advice that is given.