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Butter (Import Levy)

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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17.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the present rate per ton of levy on butter imported into the United Kingdom from outside the EEC.

Rates of levy and compensatory amounts vary according to circumstance, and information about current rates is published by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce.

Why is my hon. Friend reluctant to tell the House that there is now an import levy of about £300 a ton on butter? Why do the Government impose a heavy tax of this kind on standard foodstuffs, when their aim ought to be to keep living costs down and to support the social contract?

My right hon. Friend knows that the purpose of the levy is to safeguard the interests of Community producers, of whom we are one At the present time it is not having a significant impact on the availability of supplies, and the consumer subsidy is reducing prices to our consumers.