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Pigs (Guaranteed Prices)

Volume 639: debated on Wednesday 3 May 1961

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11.40 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
(Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

I beg to move,

That the Fatstock (Guarantee Payments) (Amendment) Order, 1961 (S.I., 1961, No. 508), dated 20th March, 1961, a copy of which was laid before this House on 23rd March, be approved.
My right hon. Friend in his statement to the House on this year's Annual Review said that if we were to get a greater stability in the market for pigs we must somehow reduce the impact of the notorious pig cycle. Hitherto our main instrument has been that of price. But experience has shown that that has not been effective because it has generally been a pretty blunt instrument when applied at yearly intervals after a Review. This is an example of being wise after the event.

That is why this year we proposed a new arrangement whereby the basic guaranteed price determined after the Review would be increased or decreased automatically during the year according to whether fewer or more pigs were in prospect—an attempt to be wise before the event. I think that that proposal was generally welcomed.

The Order now before the House is a procedural one, enabling the arrangements for this flexible guarantee to be put into operation, and I hope that it will commend itself to the House.

One of the very few sensible parts of the Price Review which the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced was this attempt to break the pig cycle, and I think from that point of view that this is most sensible.

Question put and agreed to.