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Volume 21: debated on Friday 2 April 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the tonnage and first hand value of the beet sugar produced in the United Kingdom in 1981; what was the average price per ton of cane sugar at world prices in 1981; and how much he estimates was added to the cane sugar price for freight, insurance and handling charges in United Kingdom ports.

Beet sugar is produced in the United Kingdom from September to January but calendar year production figures are normally published on the basis of the crop to which they relate. Production from the 1981 crop amounted to some 1·092 million tonnes white sugar equivalent. Most of this sugar will be sold in 1982, but I take it from the second part of the hon. Member's question that he wishes it to be valued at the prices prevailing in 1981. On this basis, using the United Kingdom effective support price for white sugar as the best available proxy for first hand prices, it would be worth £334 million.World market prices do not distinguish between cane and beet sugar, but the London daily price for raw sugar, which is the form in which most cane sugar is marketed, averaged £202·35 per tonne in 1981.The London daily price includes freight and insurance. My Department does not monitor or estimate landing charges.