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Volume 940: debated on Thursday 1 December 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the level of returns to potato growers.

My right hon. Friend has given an undertaking that the guaranteed price of £45·77 per tonne will be fulfilled for the 1977 crop as a whole and we hope that this can be done by means of an average market price which achieves the guarantee. Provisional estimates indicate near balance between supply and demand in Great Britain, assuming that consumption reverts broadly to pre-shortage levels. The Potato Marketing Board is contracting for potatoes offered to it under the recent support buying programme, and we hope that this will increase market confidence. I should emphasise that producer prices could rise significantly without greatly affecting retail prices.


asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he will take to ensure that British potato growers will continue to have the advantage of the work done by the Potato Marketing Board.

I would refer the right hon. and learned Member to the reply given earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) and the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Spence).