Sheepmeat

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th February 1985.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford 12:00 am, 14th February 1985

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what he expects will be the total percentage self-sufficiency in sheepmeat production in the United Kingdom for 1984–85; and what is the anticipated self-sufficiency of the European Economic Community.

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Forecasts are not available for the 1984–85 marketing year. Self-sufficiency for the 1984 calendar year is now estimated at 77 per cent. for the United Kingdom and 75 per cent. for the European Community.

Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford

Does my hon. Friend agree that the profound changes now taking place in agriculture mean that sheepmeat production will assume ever-increasing importance in British agriculture? Is he aware that his commitment to resist strongly any change in the variable premium schemes will be well received? Will he especially resist the Community proposal whereby any loss of return from the operation of the limited gap in the variable premium is not compensated by an increase in the ewe premium?

Photo of Mr John MacGregor Mr John MacGregor Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

The Commission has proposed this year to put a ceiling on the variable premium. As this would help our exporters and could save money, we shall need to examine it carefully. We shall not, however, accept any mechanism of the kind to which my hon. Friend has referred, which is known as a recovery bar and discriminates particularly against British interests.