asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if her assessment that retail food prices have not been significantly affected by Great Britain's membership of the EEC is based on the assumption that the levy system would have been continued if Great Britain had not joined the EEC.
The assessment takes no credit for any levies that might have been in force had we continued with our pre-Accession system of farm support, although this did, of course, provide for levies and minimum import prices. The assessment assumes that tariffs would have remained at their pre-Accession levels. It must again be emphasised that the further we move from the date of entry the harder it becomes to estimate precisely what food prices would have been had we stayed out.
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what information she has from international sources about the change in the price of imported foodstuffs in the period from 15th October 1974 to 18th March 1975, when retail food prices in Great Britain rose by 14·1 per cent.
Information about the price of food imports into the United Kingdom is not available from international sources. Some indication of changes in import prices is given by the unit value index of imported food and feeding stuffs, which rose by 15·9 per cent. between October 1974 and March 1975. Import prices, of course, often reflect contracts entered into some time in advance. They cannot be related to retail food price movements over so short a period. The figures do not reflect the effects of EEC membership, either tariffs, levies or subsidies, but as I have explained to the House, the overall effects of these on food prices is broadly neutral.