Wine Surpluses

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1981.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Rother Valley 12:00 am, 23rd July 1981

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the European Community has now disposed of wine surpluses in a satisfactory manner.

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , Angus North and Mearns

The European Community disposes of annual surpluses of wine by a variety of means. I believe that the best policy is to reduce the underlying structural surplus, and I am pressing the Commission to honour its commitment to do this.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Rother Valley

I am delighted by the Minister's reply, but does he deny that the Community has sold 150 million litres of wine to the Soviet Union at a price equivalent to 5p a bottle? Is that supposed to be disarmament by inducing alcoholic euphoria? Does the Minister deny that it is not in Britain's interests to allow that to occur while the Community is suggesting that British industry, and the British steel industry in particular, should contract on a scale and at a pace far in excess of the industries of our Community partners?

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , Angus North and Mearns

Some methods of disposal are unsatisfactory, as I have said, although the amount that has gone to Russia is only a relatively small proportion of the total exports that have gone outside the Community.

I repeat that last year the Community agreed to several structural measures, such as grubbing up vineyards and restrictions on new planting and on replanting. The Commission is due to come forward with further proposals this autumn, and we shall press strongly that it does so.

Photo of Mr Robert Atkins Mr Robert Atkins , Preston North

Does my right hon. Friend agree that a more satisfactory method of disposing of the wine surpluses would be to encourage more people in Europe to drink such an excellent beverage?