§ Mr. Geraint Howells
asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will give direct Government grant to the Welsh Agricultural Export Council.
§ Mr. Deakins
No. I consider that with a fragmented industry like agriculture there is considerable advantage in having one central export promotional organisation on a United Kingdom basis. It is for this reason that direct financial support has been provided exceptionally for the British Agricultural Export Council to stimulate and co-ordinate agricultural export effort. In 1971 the Welsh Agricultural Export Council accepted that the industry would be best served by one overall body provided it was truly representative of the four home countries. To ensure this, arrangements were made for representatives of the home countries to be co-opted on to the Finance and General Purposes Committee—the management committee—of the BAEC. The WAEC therefore contributes to decisions on the policy and expenditure of the British Agricultural Export Council. The wide range of export services provided by the Government for exporters at a cost currently running at over £10 million per year are, of course, available to WAEC. Thus full provision has been made for the support of agricultural exports generally and in a way which is acceptable to the Welsh body.592W