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Butter Stocks

Volume 12: debated on Wednesday 11 November 1981

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken to prevent a further rise in the butter stocks of the European Community; and if he will make it his policy to repeat the availability of cheap butter to pensioners if these stocks begin rising towards 1979 levels.

A number of measures are currently in force to expand the market for Community butter and thus help reduce any rise in intervention stocks, which are currently equivalent to about two days' supply.In addition to the payment of subsidies on butter sold to charities, the Armed Forces and manufacturers of pastries and ice cream, these measures involve the subsidisation of exports to third countries and of general butter consumption within the Community, including the special subsidy in the United Kingdom, which is financed entirely from Community funds.There is no Community scheme under which cheap butter can be made available to pensioners as a specific group, although member States may subsidise the sale of butter to those receiving social assistance. United Kingdom participation in this scheme was ended by the previous Government, and there are at present no plans to re-introduce it.