§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to apply to farmers' incomes and price rises of food under the EEC recommendations a 4 per cent. limit which is to apply to nurses and others in the public sector.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
Common agricultural policy price increases need to take account of increases in costs as well as the state of farmers' incomes. For example, in this country substantial increases would be needed to meet increased costs of energy, fertilizers, and the recent substantial wage increases awarded to agricultural workers by the Agricultural Wages Board.
From May 1979 to December 1981, whilst average earnings went up by 48 per cent. the retail price inde27ng went up by 43 per cent. and farm gate prices have only gone up by 25 per cent.
This is one reason why, as shown in the Agriculture White Paper published on 17 February, farmers' incomes have gone down during that period.307W