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Foodstuffs

Volume 14: debated on Thursday 3 December 1981

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each relevant chapter in the Brussels nomenclature the United Kingdom consumption of foodstuffs not governed by the common agricultural policy, the average price per ton of competitive imports and the average premium paid in terms of the rate of duty collected.

The majority of foodstuffs consumed in the United Kingdom are covered by Community market regulations. The main exceptions are potatoes, certain manufactured foodstuffs and some tropical products. Information on potatoes is set out in the following table, but I regret that similar information for other products cannot be provided except at disproportionate cost.

Potatoes—1980
Total consumption (raw equivalent)*5·9 million tonnes
Average price of imports†£127 per tonne
Tariff‡6 per cent. to 21 per cent.
* Provisional.
† Average unit value of imports.
A number of tariff rates applied ranging from 6 per cent. for Cypriot new potatoes imported between 1 January and 15 May to 21 per cent. for imports from other sources between 16 May and 30 June.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report, a table showing the percentage increase in the price of the basic foodstuffs in the United Kingdom since May 1979, as a result of changes in the common agricultural policy price and changes in the value of the green pound, and the corresponding figure for the increase in the wholesale price of manufactures other than food, drink and tobacco.

The price of foodstuffs, as measured by the wholesale price index for products of the food manufacturing industries, increased by 25·6 per cent. between May 1979 and October 1981, whereas output prices for products of the manufacturing industries other than food, drink and tobacco rose by 36·4 per cent. A large number of factors affect the prices of foodstuffs, and it is not possible to determine what proportion of the 25·6 per cent. increase is attributable to changes in the common agricultural policy price and to changes in the value of the green pound, but the increased butter subsidy and the beef premium scheme will have helped to contain price increases.