Memorandum submitted by Anne Preston MBEChairman
Prestons of Potto (O1)
I am Chairman of a group of companies in the
logistics industry employing over 360 staff in several locations
British Sugar has been a very valued customer
over a large number of years. We carry sugar products from factories
in York, Newark and East Anglia and operate the British Sugar
Warehouse at York. I also sit on the Board of the Road Haulage
Association, Chair Freight Business Yorkshire and Humberside and
sit on the newly formed Board Skills For Logistics, all of which
allows me to take a very broad view of the industry as a whole.
My family have been farmers for generations
and at one time I worked for the Ministry of Agriculture. Whilst
I acknowledge, as so indeed do British Sugar that reform of the
industry, is necessary and justified it is imperative that we
retain a stable market which enables efficient industries to operate
and invest sustainably for the future.
I believe your Committee should take into account
the following points:
The position of the UK industry as
being in balance between supply and demand.
Changes should be phased in gradually
to allow the sector to adjust (about 10 years).
Modified Option 1 offers the best
overall deal for stakeholders in the industry.
The importance of sugar beet crops
to the environment ie birdlife.
The UK beet arm of British Sugar
is the European leader in costs and efficiency.
Alone among the member states the
UK sugar market is roughly equal between beet sugar from the UK's
domestic industry and imported cane sugar.
Prices on world markets are low and
below the cost of production and therefore should not be used
as a bench mark.
Brazil has increased its exports
to the world market 10 fold to over 14 million tonnes since 1990
compared with EU net exports which have remained stable at 3 million
tonnes. Brazil has been cross subsidised by their ethanol industry
and against a background of a devaluation in currency.
Taking everything into account it
is certain that any changes due to the reform will have anything
other than a negligible effect on world sugar prices.
Over 20,000 people in mainly rural areas are
employed in the UK sugar industry. Over 1,200 road hauliers are
involved in carrying sugar beet and finished product. Unless the
modified option one is adopted many of these people will go out
Over the years both farming and manufacturing
have seen a steep incline in UK. It would be tragic if we allowed
this to happen to our sugar industry.
16 March 2004