asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that the Potato Marketing Board will not release stocks in Scotland unless payment of £80 per ton is paid to the farmers, and that it is in fact selling stocks that it holds on contract to the processors at £30 to £35 per ton, and that urgent action is now needed to save the public from paying double the price that is necessary; and if he will make a statement.
Stocks of potatoes contracted to the Potato Marketing Board under the joint Government-PMB buying programme are being released on to the market at less than the figure mentioned by my hon. Friend—the actual price depending on quality and other considerations. The Government's aim is to keep the cost of the market support arrangements as low as possible, while ensuring that the market continues to be adequately supplied. Sales to processors at fixed prices—normally £30 per tonne—are taking place separately under the scheme of assistance announced in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) on 6th February—[Vol. 943, c. 457–458.]