asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the current average prices in Scotland for fat clean sheep and fat lambs this year compared with 1955.
For the last period for which this information is available, namely the four weeks ended 26th September, 1965, the average prices paid at Scottish auction markets for sheep certi-field for fatstock guarantee payments were for clean sheep 26·5d per lb. and for lambs 32·6d. per lb. The comparable figures for 1955 were 25·4d and 30·8d, respectively.
From those figures, it is clear that the prices have risen very little. While one welcomes anything which keeps down food prices, because—
Order. The right hon. Gentleman must ask a question.
Is the Minister aware that the costs which these sheep farmers have to meet have risen very much—for example, transport costs? This may have a serious effect on the sheep farmer in Scotland unless a bigger profit is available to meet the extra costs.
These factors are taken into account at the time of the annual review. In the last Review White Paper it was pointed out that this section of the industry continued to show a good figure of profitability, so it would not appear that heavy losses are being incurred. But all these factors are taken fully into consideration.