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Volume 31: debated on Wednesday 10 November 1982

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether any means are available to him to determine the extent to which subsidised butter sold by the European Economic Community to Third world countries may be re-exported to the Soviet Union; and if he will make a statement.

Export refunds are released to Community traders only after they have supplied evidence, usually in the form of a Customs certificate, to show that the exported butter has entered into free circulation in the country specified on the export certificate. There is no reliable basis on which to establish the extent to which such butter might subsequently have been re-exported.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what quantities of subsidised butter were made available in 1981 to charities and institutions such as schools and hospitals in the United Kingdom by the European Community; what was the value of these quantities; what proportion of total butter consumption within the Community was subsidised on to the market in that year; and how this compares with the quantities subsidised on the world market.

Non-profit making organisations in the United Kingdom purchased a total of 3,055 tonnes of butter from intervention stocks in 1981. Had it been sold at the 1981–82 intervention price this would have cost £5,861,000, but this was reduced by £3,222,000 in setting the price to the non-profit making organisations. Also, 712 tonnes were purchased for such organisations on the open market with the aid of a subsidy of £753,000. The value of this butter would depend on the individual commercial transactions involved and is not available.It is estimated that approximately 542,000 tonnes of butter were subsidised on the Community market in 1981, which was 33 per cent. of total Community consumption in that year. Approximately 480,000 tonnes of Community butter and butteroil—expressed in butter equivalent terms—were exported to third countries with the aid of export refunds during 1981.