Mr Geraint Howells: I am disappointed with that reply. I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware of the crisis in the livestock sector. Will he agree to compensate farmers in the livestock sector, because they had to sell store cattle during September, October and November, through no fault of their own? Will he reconsider his decision?
Mr Geraint Howells: What further action is proposed by the Minister to bring nursery factories to mid-Wales, especially to Ceredigion?
Mr Geraint Howells: Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure us that no hay and straw will be exported to the Continent during the next three or four months?
Mr Geraint Howells: It gives me great pleasure to support what was said by my colleague and friend the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) in raising the important issue of high petrol costs in rural areas. I endorse everything that he has said, and I shall not cover the same ground, because he has outlined the hardship experienced by families in rural areas of Scotland. It is also true...
Mr Geraint Howells: Will the Minister give an assurance that farmers will be adequately recouped for the cost of production at this year's price review?
Mr Geraint Howells: The French say that they want live calves for rearing.
Mr Geraint Howells: The hon. Gentleman has just quoted a statement that the average price for best beef in 1974 was in the region of £20 to £25 per cwt. Let me tell the House that the price of beef in 1974 went as low as £12 or £14 per cwt. The average price for the few months at the end of the year was very low indeed, and £10 per cwt. less than the hon. Gentleman quoted.
Mr Geraint Howells: The right hon. and learned Gentleman must be aware that, if the ban is lifted, the return to the hill farmers in Wales and other parts of Britain will improve. They will then be able to buy extra fodder to feed their animals.
Mr Geraint Howells: asked the Secretary of State for Wales what is the present number of homeless people in Wales.
Mr Geraint Howells: I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware that there are a number of married couples who have been on the council house waiting list for up to five years? Can he hold out any ray of hope that they will be housed within the next five years?
Mr Geraint Howells: Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that it would be folly on his part and on the part of the Government to impose a similar rural development board, with compulsory powers, on the people of Mid-Wales? He is a Mid-Walian, and I know that he is aware that I am a Mid-Walian. It would be much better if the Government were to prepare a comprehensive policy to safeguard the future of...
Mr Geraint Howells: Liberal Members welcome the draft directive, which will do a power of good to the sheep industry. The incentives from the Community will help our balance of payments in the years to come. We now realise the potential of our hill and marginal land. We import 54 per cent. of our meat requirements. I am sure that the new incentives will bring badly-needed stability back to the hill areas. But I...
Mr Geraint Howells: Yes.
Mr Geraint Howells: There are no sheep regulations. For the benefit of the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan), there are no sheep regulations within the EEC.
Mr Geraint Howells: I am not in favour unless we can substitute something better than the statutory agreement which already exists in this country along with the support system.
Mr Geraint Howells: I have clearly stated my view.
Mr Geraint Howells: Is the Minister aware that tractor cabs are in very short supply? Will he give an assurance that they will be available for farmers to purchase before the regulations come into force next year?
Mr Geraint Howells: asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to provide assistance to small business people in meeting increased rate demands in 1975.
Mr Geraint Howells: Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that many employees will be made redundant and many small businesses will close during the year, due to this year's high rate demand? Will he reconsider his decision and try to help small business people? I was told today that rates in Aberystwyth have risen by 80 per cent. in 12 months, and unless something is done in the foreseeable future many...
Mr Geraint Howells: Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that there are vacant nursery factories in Cardinganshire and that it is very difficult to entice industrialists to Ceredigion? We have no railways links with England, and our road communications are bad. Will he assure us that he will spend more in the next five years on road communications into Mid-Wales?