§ 3.2 p.m.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, this Amendment Order is presented in accordance with the requirements of the Industrial Organisation Development Act 1947, under which the principal Order was made in December, 1966. The Amendment will have the effect of increasing from 30s. to 60s. per acre the maximum rate of annual charge which may be levied by the Development Council on registered growers of apples and pears. I understand that consultations have taken place with the organisations concerned. I further understand that the proposals now before us, which are maxima, have the approval of the National Farmers' Union and of the National Union of Agricultural and Allied Workers, and I have pleasure in commending them to your Lordships. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Draft Apple and Pear Development Council (Amendment) Order 1970, laid before the House on April 28, 1970, be approved.—(Lord Beswick.)
§ LORD BELSTEAD
My Lords, when the original Order was introduced in 1966 the Government claimed that they were making history because this was the first such Council to be established in agriculture and horticulture. Subsequently the Council has done valuable work in promoting the sale of these homegrown fruits, and certainly I think all apple eaters will agree that, guided by the Council, the packing of this produce in particular has become first-class.
Your Lordships may remember that the growers of cider apples are exempt, and a colourful list of names of cider apples appears in a long Schedule to the original Order. I trust that the fact that Jenkins Red is to continue to grow untaxed will not blind the Government to the fact that they are continuing to make history by doubling the levy to be imposed on the growers. Although we enjoyed hearing the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, saying a word or two about the Order he did not say a single word about why the levy should be so doubled.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, first it is to enable the Council to continue its good work. Secondly, I stress again that the figures put down are maxima, and in the first place, at any rate, it is not intended that the amount shall be as great as that. But it does give greater scope to the Council for future years, and I again stress that consultations which have taken place indicate that the producers and the retailers appreciate what has been done.
I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, for the praise which he gave to the Council. Its publicity campaigns have been successful. Indeed, I am told that most retailers carrying out their special promotions have had increases in the volume of their sales of between 50 and 100 per cent., and that these increases are directly attributable to the activity of the Council. Therefore I think we shall all agree that the work should go on. And if the Council is to be able to continue to expand its promotional operations, guard against possible increases in cost and have room for some flexibility in fixing the rate of each annual charge 1061 (and of course the charge is fixed, with Ministerial approval each year, in relation to the programme of work undertaken) then a greater maximum than now current is necessary. I trust this will not only give flexibility to the Council but reassure the noble Lord that the amount of money is being carefully spent and that the planning ahead is under the supervision of Ministers. With that assurance, my Lords, I hope that you will approve the Order.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.