British Beef

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 1996.

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Photo of Mr Phil Gallie Mr Phil Gallie , Ayr 12:00 am, 18th July 1996

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to support the promotion of British beef in the shops [36412]

Photo of Angela Browning Angela Browning Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

I am leading an initiative to promote British beef in shops and other outlets. Forequarter cuts are currently being promoted and I am holding a series of meetings and seminars to help promote retail sales further.

Photo of Mr Phil Gallie Mr Phil Gallie , Ayr

I thank my hon. Friend. Does she agree that mince and tatties is a much-loved traditional Scottish dish, rich in taste and nutritional value? Does she further agree that British minced beef is a prime product and that Europeans are mugs to miss out?

Photo of Angela Browning Angela Browning Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Many of our regional dishes, which are well known throughout the country, use mince. The House will welcome the success of the Meat and Livestock Commission's quality mince campaign, which I understand is going very well.

Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley , Glanford and Scunthorpe

Those measures are welcome for reassuring the consumer, but is not the wider European and world market important for beef sales? Will the Minister confirm that the Europeans have kept their side of bargain by implementing orders under the Florence agreement and that the debate next week is only a smokescreen for the fact that the orders under the slaughter programme will not be in place until the autumn? What credibility does that give the Government in reassuring our European partners and the British consumer?

Photo of Angela Browning Angela Browning Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister has, in answer to several questions this afternoon, spelt out clearly the way in which we are taking forward that aspect of the Florence agreement. The hon. Gentleman will have heard him say that there will be further announcements in the business statement later this afternoon. I am sorry that, in the context of the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Gallie), the hon. Gentleman did not feel it appropriate to support the campaigns to promote British sales at home. It is clear that beef products and sales, despite the fact that much work is needed on the forequarter cuts, are holding up well in the UK. I am pleased to report that the sale of steaks for grilling and frying has almost resumed the level that existed before the crisis started.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

If my hon. Friend is not doing anything this summer, will she come with me to Saltzburg where we can set up shop outside a Wienerwald restaurant—or maybe we can go to Paris and set up shop outside a Quick restaurant—and hand out free portions of British beef to show the Austrians, Germans and French exactly what they are missing? Is she as horrified as I am that the best that the Opposition can come up with is criticism of our policy on British beef instead of talking it up?

Photo of Angela Browning Angela Browning Parliamentary Secretary (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

I share my hon. Friend's concern about Opposition Members not playing their part in promoting British beef, which is a first-class product. With regard to the first part of my hon. Friend's question, I am awfully sorry, but I am spring-cleaning my house this summer.