My hon. Friend does the House a singular service in drawing our attention to the need for deep price cuts as the best way of solving Europe's over-supply problem, certainly in relation to beet sugar. We are pressing for a price reduction of some 12 per cent. in the negotiations. We do not believe that our sugar beet quota should be reduced, as our production is not contributing to the surplus.
If that is so, would the Minister care to explain why the British Government have just agreed to European Commission proposals on the sugar regime that effectively mean no change whatever in the next five years? How does he square that with his apparent enthusiasm for change in the sugar quota regime?
The hon. Gentleman—who, I know, follows these matters reasonably closely—is somewhat ill informed. No agreement has been reached on the future of the sugar regime. My right hon. Friend will examine the matter when he goes to the Agriculture Council next week.