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British Poultry Federation

Volume 884: debated on Thursday 23 January 1975

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to meet representatives of the British Poultry Federation.

I met representatives of the British Poultry Federation on 17th December and further meetings are to take place between representatives of the federation and officials of my Department.

Although I appreciate the charm and authority of the hon. Gentleman, I. am sure he realises that the Minister is the person to whom this Question was directed and that the federation would be grateful if he could see his way to meeting it, particularly in the light of the considerable hardships that the industry is now facing, not least on account of the vagaries of the workings of the common agricultural policy, which is presenting the prospect of unfair competition in eggs from France and in poultry meat from Holland and Denmark. Will the hon. Gentleman convey to his right hon. Friend the real appreciation that there would be if he would see a delegation himself?

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern, but because of my right hon. Friend's many other engagements at home and in Europe, and because he did not wish the meeting with the federation to be held up, he asked me to meet it and to keep him informed of the discussions. At the moment our officials are in touch with the federation. I have only just come from an excellent occasion at the Savoy, when I was able to present the European Egg Marketing Trophy Award. I was also able once more to assure the industry of our concern, quite apart from the fact that one of the biggest poultry farms in the country is in my constituency. I will bear the hon. Gentleman's points in mind.

Will the Minister assure us that he will have these consultations in the context of discussions in relation to the price review and take fully into account in the context of the review the representations of the federation?

There is no United Kingdom guarantee scheme for eggs or poultry meat. The federation has every opportunity of making its views known about the price review and developments in those areas known to the Ministry. We shall take into account all the observations made to me direct and to my right hon. Friend.