asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on support measures for ware potatoes for the 1982 harvest?
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle) on 23 March.
Can my right hon. Friend explain why there has been no increase in the price of potatoes for the 1982 crop? Is he aware of the problems that that will cause in restricting the income of the Potato Marketing Board?
We have discussed the matter fully, not only with the Potato Marketing Board, but with representatives of the farming organisations. In Britain we have a free market in potatoes. The help that we give on the contract buying programme and the fact that recently the price has been consistently more than the guarantee means that we now have a very different position from that of a few years ago. We should welcome that.