Welsh Lamb Enterprise (Hansard, 3 December 1990)
HC Deb 03 December 1990 vol 182 cc11-2
18. Mr. Raffan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the percentage of Welsh sheep farmers who support Welsh Lamb Enterprise.

Mr. David Hunt

Forty-five per cent., which is not enough.

Mr. Raffan

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend and glad that he said that the percentage is not enough, because it is not. Will he do his utmost to impress upon the farming unions in Wales that far more sheep farmers must support Welsh Lamb Enterprise? If they want to market the product, they must support the scheme, believe far more in marketing, and do far more for marketing.

Mr. Hunt

Yes I shall, and I agree.

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones

I wholeheartedly endorse the fact that Welsh sheep farmers should look positively at marketing, but does not the Minister realise that the 30 per cent. cut in support prices could mean that up to a quarter of Welsh sheep farmers will go out of business? Does not he realise that he must stand up for Welsh farmers? Why does not he go to the EC negotiations and the general agreement on tariffs and trade talks, stand up for Welsh farmers and be like the Prime Minister—his own man in Wales?

Mr. Hunt

The hon. Gentleman should not be overtaken by his own verbosity. I shall stand up for Welsh sheep farmers just as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with the support of us all, stands up for the interests of Welsh farmers in Brussels.

The hon. Gentleman should not exaggerate the situation as he has done. The 30 per cent. figure does not mean a 30 per cent. cut in prices; it is a figure since 1986, not as from now, and it is important to stop any misleading comments that can only undermine confidence in the industry.

I am happy to have been able to authorise two advance payments of the sheep annual premium, which have meant an extra cash injection for sheep farmers in Wales of £25 million.