Is my hon. Friend aware that considerable concern has been expressed within that sector of the agriculture industry because the changes in capital allowances, which will shortly come into effect, will have a distorting effect on machinery sales, which is likely to lead to a boom and then a bust? Will she bear in mind in her further discussions with the Treasury as well as with the Agricultural Engineers Association that this will not help the smaller farmers in the west and south-west who have suffered a squeeze?
I would accept that the necessary contraction in the dairy industry has caused farmers to postpone new plant investment. I believe that some may even have over-reacted. In recent years there has been a general contraction in the industry, due to rationalisation and import penetration. I do not agree with my hon. Friend's views about next year's opportunities in agricultural engineering. They are a little pessimistic.