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Beef (Eec Subsidy)

Volume 886: debated on Thursday 20 February 1975

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21.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much was spent out of EEC funds in 1974 in subsidising the sale of beef at reduced prices in countries outside the EEC.

35.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much beef and veal from EEC stocks was sold outside the EEC at prices below the EEC price in 1974.

Statistics concerning export refunds for beef, and exports of beef from intervention stocks, are kept by the EEC Commission and not by my Department.

I understand from a recent Commission statement that about 130,000 metric tons of beef from intervention stocks was exported to non-EEC countries in 1974. The rate of refund payable on these, as on other exports of beef, will have varied according to the form in which the meat was sold and the country to which it was sent. No figure for the total value of the subsidy is yet available to my Department.

Does that not suggest that a serious position is developing in which large amounts of food are being withdrawn from the market and sold to countries outside the EEC, while the people of this country, France, Belgium and elsewhere cannot afford to buy the meat sold in their markets? Is this not an appalling situation? Is it not high time that this country got out of the Common Market?

I do not think that I have much more to add on this matter. We debated the issue recently. My right hon. Friend has made our policy clear. We are not in favour of intervention for beef. My right hon. Friend's success means that intervention buying will be at a limited level in the future.