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Sugar Beet

Volume 974: debated on Thursday 29 November 1979

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the average price per ton of sugar beet paid to United Kingdom farmers at the farm gate in 1978–79 as a percentage of the price paid in 1979–71, including the value of any residues returned to the grower for feed and other purposes.

Because of the pricing arrangements and changes made in them it is not possible to give the information in the form the hon. Member asks. The average return to growers in 1970–71 for whole beet delivered to the factory was equivalent to £7·39 per tonne, the corresponding figure for 1978–79—that is, for the sugar in the beet, plus an allowance for the pulp, plus a variable allowance for transport—was £23·72 per tonne.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the average price per ton paid for sugar beet by the British Sugar Corporation in its past financial year; what was the margin for refining and the realised gross margin of profit; and what was the average selling price per ton of sugar compared with the world price over the same period.

The British Sugar Corporation Ltd. financial year ended on 30 September. The average delivered price paid to beet growers for the 1978–79 campaign was £23·72 per tonne—£24·10 per ton.The margins and profits of BSC are commercial matters and I understand that the company's annual report will be published shortly.

At the start of the company's financial year the company's published list price for bulk white sugar was £261 per tonne, at the end of the year the price was £291. The world price of sugar varies daily; over the period the daily price for white sugar on the London market fluctuated between a minimum of £92 and a maximum of £128 per tonne.