Mr James Hoy: As the hon. Gentleman knows, in the last four reviews we have increased the guaranteed price by 15 per cent. In the 1967 review we extended the hill sheep subsidy to 40 per cent. more sheep and at the same time improved the terms. Obviously, we want to build up that part of our stock.
Mr James Hoy: This has always been a very difficult question. Other hon. Members opposite are always telling me that we are not doing enough for forestry. We must endeavour to have a plan. We will make way for sheep, but we must not deny forestry its fair share of land.
Mr James Hoy: The main decision taken by the International Sugar Council at its meeting last month was on the initial level of the export quotas of the exporting members of the International Sugar Agreement during 1970.
Mr James Hoy: We should not seek to weaken what has been done for the sugar market through the British Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. Price stability, which is fair to the producer and the consumer, is, on the whole, very much appreciated by every country concerned.
Mr James Hoy: Whilst horticulture enjoys protection by tariff or, in the case of apples and pears, quota restrictions, my right hen. Friend and his right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade are agreed that rather than increasing such restrictions it should be our general policy to help the industry to improve its competitive efficiency so that home-grown produce will replace imports on its...
Mr James Hoy: I remind the hon. Gentleman that, because of Government assist- ance, the glasshouse acreage has increased by 294 acres and outdoor vegetable acreages are up by 30,000 acres compared with last June.
Mr James Hoy: Yes. We hope that co-operatives will play a part in this. It is interesting to note that the glass acreage for tomatoes alone increased by 103 acres.
Mr James Hoy: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that point, because trade is a two-way traffic. Our country lives by trade. Therefore, while we want to export all that we can, we must enter into agreements with other countries so that trade can flow freely.
Mr James Hoy: We want to save all that we can. The Government and the industry have made tremendous investments. Grant payments for completed schemes under the Horticultural Improvement Scheme came to very nearly £10 million in the last three years. I think that the hon. Gentleman should be satisfied with what we are doing in this country to meet our own needs.
Mr James Hoy: We are always considering these matters. However, when we enter into tariff agreements, we must fix set dates when they come into force. If anything can be done to help, I will consider it.
Mr James Hoy: So far this year 164 proposals for food price increases have been notified to the Department under the early warning arrangements. Of these 111 have been accepted as notified and a further 16 after modification. The remainder have either been withdrawn or are still under consideration.
Mr James Hoy: I can only reply that the procedure is that of the early warning system. The proposals come before my Department, and I can assure my hon. Friend that they are most carefully examined before we permit the increases to take place. We should not think that this represents the whole record, because the very fact that it is known that this procedure exists very frequently keeps people from making...
Mr James Hoy: I wish that were true. There are many reasons for increased costs—wages, materials, and so on. Very frequently we are dependent on supplies from abroad for what we require, and unless we pay the price we do not get it.
Mr James Hoy: Recent price increases by leading manufacturers of sausages and meat pies were accepted as justified under the early warning arrangements by my Department. The prices of these products are affected by many factors. It is not possible to quantify as a separate element the effect on price levels of exports of pigs since the reduction of the Common Market levy.
Mr James Hoy: I rather resent the last part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. Any manufacturer who wants to increase the price of his goods has to send the application to my Department, where it is examined very carefully. It is misleading, as our predecessors found, to accept some figures from The Grocers' Gazette. It can be misleading to the general public.
Mr James Hoy: The provisional estimate of the 1969 United Kingdom cereal crop is 13·8 million tons, made up of 3·4 million tons of wheat, 8·8 million tons of barley, 1·3 million tons of oats, 0·2 million tons of mixed corn, and 11,000 tons of rye.
Mr James Hoy: We are glad that the crop turned out to be about 1 million tons higher than last year. Frankly, I cannot promise that we can go into the question again. If anybody knows the difficulties involved it is the hon. Member, who had to administer this scheme when he filled the office which I at present hold.
Mr James Hoy: They are made so frequently that it would take a considerable time to add them all up, but I agree with my hon. Friend this continued demand for money does not seem to go with promises made at the same time of cuts in taxation.
Mr James Hoy: I am not aware that fishing rights in the Lune are in need of any special protection. We have had no representations on behalf of Mr. P. Smith other than those from my hon. Friend. I have explained in reply that there is nothing I can do to help.
Mr James Hoy: My hon. Friend may be interested to know that my fishery officers investigated on the spot when the complaint was first made in July, and again in November. My officials discussed it with the other Departments concerned and with the Lancashire River Authority. My Department was also consulted by the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Power, which issued the necessary statutory consents. On...