§ 27. Mr. Bullard
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has made an up-to-date estimate of the probable effect of the present trend of the market prices of fat cattle, sheep and pigs, and of wheat and barley, on the cost of the farm price guarantees to the Exchequer.
§ Mr. Soames
Yes. I am satisfied that the recent trend in market prices will not mean any significant excess over the estimates given in the Annual Review White Paper, 1963, of the cost of the guarantees for fatstock and cereals during the current financial year. As for the financial year 1963–64, as yet I see no reason to expect that, taking the estimates as a whole, the outturn is likely to exceed our forecast.
§ Mr. Bullard
I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for that hopeful forecast of future events, but is he satisfied that he has mechanism within his control for checking excessive imports in time to prevent their seriously affecting the estimate of the cost of the guarantees before actual harm is done to the market? As time goes very quickly and another season quickly comes round, will he take steps to see that he has adequate means at his disposal before the next season arrives?
§ Mr. Soames
As my hon. Friend knows, this is obviously a major part of the discussions that we are to have in the months ahead.