Skip to main content

Milk And Potatoes

Volume 931: debated on Friday 6 May 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is yet in a position to announce the guaranteed prices for milk and potatoes.

The milk guarantee for 1976–77 was originally determined at 9·458p per litre—43 pence per gallon; but this was raised to 9·678ppl (44 ppg) in October to help dairy farmers, who had suffered from the drought. It will now be raised again in three stages. For the month of April, payments will be at the maximum level permitted by Community rules for that month, namely 9·898ppl—45p per gallon. For the summer months from 1st May to 15th September, the level will be raised again, to 10·119 ppl (46 ppg). There will be a further increase on 16th September, and the rate between then and the end of December will be about 10·5ppl (47¾ ppg).In accordance with the Treaty of Accession, the guarantee arrangements will terminate on 31st December. The Government are consulting all the interests concerned on the pricing arrangements for milk for liquid consumption from January 1978, and I shall be making a further statement on this in due course.The standard quantity will be set at 11,350 million litres for the nine months, 1st April to 31st December, for which the guarantee will apply. This is almost 10 per cent. higher than actual production in the same months of last year and should allow ample room for additional production. As a result of the guarantee determination, I estimate that dairy production should be more profitable this year in real terms than it has been for several years and I hope that dairy farmers will now feel able to look forward with confidence and expand their production in line with the objectives set out in "Food from Our Own Resources".As a result of the decision announced last December to phase out the consumer subsidy on milk, together with this increase in the guaranteed price and increases in distributors costs, it will be necessary to increase the maximum retail price for milk by 1p per pint from 22nd May and by a further 1p during the autumnSo far as potatoes are concerned, the guaranteed price will be raised from the £40 per ton which applies during the current season to £46·50 per ton for the 1977 crop. The arrangements for intra-Community trade and support after 31st December have not yet been decided, but I can say that the Government will ensure that the price guarantee will be fulfilled for the 1977 crop as a whole. It continues to be the Government's objective that the United Kingdom should be self-sufficient in maincrop potatoes, and this increase in the guarantee should give producers the necessary confidence to ensure that this objective is met.