asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the latest position over the Common Market price negotiations on cereals.
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, North-East (Mr. Freud).
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what percentage reduction in cereal prices he estimates would be necessary to bring supply into line with demand, allowing for reasonable provision for contingencies and seasonal factors.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 17 December 1984.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from the food industry about the likely future character of cereals required to meet consumer demand for particular types of bread and other flour products; and if he will make a statement.
None. It is important that United Kingdom millers have access to sufficient supplies of home-grown wheats that have the right properties to enable them to further reduce their requirement for imported wheat, and I would urge all sections of the United Kingdom cereals industry to continue paying attention to the importance of gearing production and marketing to the needs of the market. Improvement in milling technology and incorporation of wheat gluten has enabled our millers to increase their use of home-grown wheat in the gist from 55 per cent. in 1979 to 82 per cent. this year.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to seek to introduce a quota system for cereals grown in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
No. The common agricultural policy as it affects cereals is a matter for the Community as a whole. Throughout the recent price-fixing negotiations I urged on my fellow Agriculture Ministers the need for a long-term policy of price restraint.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his latest forecast of cereal output in the United Kingdom in the current year.
It is not possible to produce a reasonably accurate forecast of United Kingdom cereal output this year until harvest time.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the anticipated expenditure on cereals in the European Economic Community for 1985; and what saving would have resulted from the Commission's proposal for a 1·8 per cent. reduction in cereal prices.
The 1985 Budget provides 2,325 mecu for expenditure on cereals. It was drawn up on the basis of the Commission's original price proposals which included a 3·6 per cent. cut, so a move to a cut of 1·8 per cent. would have represented an increase in expenditure compared with this provision. The package containing the proposal for a 1·8 per cent. reduction also, however, included a change in the proposed level of carry over payments which would have more than offset the effect of the price change, leaving a net saving compared with the budget provision of 83 mecu.