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Farmers' Costs

Volume 932: debated on Thursday 19 May 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage of consumer spending power is represented by the increase in farmers' costs for the last 12 months for which figures are available.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to United Kingdom farmers.The "Annual Review of Agriculture 1977"—Cmnd. 6703—assessed aggregate cost increases for United Kingdom farmers since the previous review at £895 million. This represents about 1 per cent. of total consumer expenditure in 1976 of £73 billion, or about 6 per cent. of total expenditure on food by households and caterers of £16 billion. I should point out, however, that there could be problems in linking the cost and expenditure figures. It is not possible to say what proportion of United Kingdom farmers' cost increases were or will be passed through to consumers and, of course, a substantial proportion of our food is imported.