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Animal Welfare

15. Mr. McCabe: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the priorities are of his Department's programme of research and development for animal welfare. [146790]

Mr. Morley: MAFF's research on animal welfare has funding up to £3.7 million in the current year. Its aim is to support our objective of ensuring farmed animals and fish are protected by high welfare standards and do not suffer pain or distress.

We have 45 projects in three programmes covering:

All receive equal priority.

21. Mr. Hilary Benn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received concerning animal welfare in advance of the next round of World Trade Organisation negotiations. [146797]

Mr. Morley: I have received a number of representations on this subject, and have supported the Commission's proposal to the WTO that animal welfare issues be considered in trade liberalisation negotiations.

Scientific Advisory Committees

16. Mr. Geraint Davies: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to promote openness and transparency in his Ministry's scientific advisory committees. [146791]

Ms Quin: All chairmen and members of MAFF scientific advisory committees which are also non-departmental public bodies are appointed in accordance with the Guidance of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. In addition, we have taken a number of steps to increase openness, including holding open sessions, publishing agendas and minutes of meetings and issuing public reports.

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Farm Woodland Schemes

17. Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers participate in farm woodland schemes. [146793]

Mr. Morley: Between 1988 and end 2000, there were 8,225 approved applications under the Farm Woodland Premium Scheme and/or its predecessor the Farm Woodland Scheme. Individuals may make more than one application.

Food Supply Chain

18. Mr. Rammell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to improve co-operation in the agri-food chain. [146794]

Ms Quin: Government and industry are working in a number of ways to promote improved levels of co-operation and working together in the food chain. For instance, some £5 million of grant aid has been allocated to projects under the Agriculture Development Scheme and many of these are being taken forward by supply chain partnerships.

23. Mr. Jack: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with (a) the Department of Trade and Industry, (b) supermarkets and (c) growers on proposed codes of practice defining their respective relationships. [146799]

Ms Quin: The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has asked the Director General of Fair Trading to seek the agreement of the major supermarkets to a binding Code of Practice that addresses the specific concerns identified by the Competition Commission in its recent report on the supply of groceries from multiple stores. Officials have been kept informed of progress on the drafting of the Code by the Office of Fair Trading and have maintained contact with the DTI. We have received a number of representations about the proposed Code from individual supermarket companies and representatives of suppliers.

Farm Diversification

19. Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to help farm businesses seeking to diversify. [146795]

Mr. Morley: The England Rural Development Programme supports farm diversification through the £152 million Rural Enterprise Scheme (RES), Processing and Marketing Grants, the Vocational Training Scheme and tree-planting schemes. MAFF is producing a free guide on farm diversification and aims to make available free planning advice to RES applicants for farm diversification. The Rural White Paper contains a number of extra initiatives on planning to help diversification and we have consulted on providing time-limited rate relief for farmers wishing to diversify into non-farming activities.

Dairy Market

20. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he had with British Creameries before it went into receivership concerning the state of the milk and cheese market. [146796]

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Ms Quin: No such discussions took place with British Creameries.


22. Mr. Pollard: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to reduce the level of regulation on the horticulture sector. [146798]

Ms Quin: As part of the Red Tape reviews initiated in September 1999, we have examined those areas of concern identified by the industry and secured changes in EU provisions and also simplified our own procedures. On the former, we have successfully argued in Brussels that non-grower members should be able to become full members of Producer Organisation (PO) Boards; and for a fixed level of aid to be paid under the EU scheme, as requested by the UK industry. On the latter, improvements have been made to the forms and explanatory material, issued by this Department, for producer organisations.

Farm Incomes (Blaby)

24. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will visit farmers in Blaby to discuss farm incomes. [146800]

Ms Quin: My right hon. Friend the Minister has no immediate plans to visit Blaby. However my right hon. Friend and I will be meeting many farmers at the Annual General Meeting of the National Farmers Union on 7 February and I am sure that the issue of farm incomes will be discussed.

Local Authority Tenanted Farms

25. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the future viability of local authorities' tenanted farms. [146801]

Ms Quin: Local authorities' tenanted farms are important in providing a first rung on the farming ladder. Day-to-day management of these estates is the responsibility of individual smallholdings authorities. I welcome the initiative shown by authorities which pursue active and imaginative policies to maintain their estates' viability.

Chicken Welfare

27. Mr. Loughton: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of eggs are produced

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by free range hens; and what steps the Government are taking to promote higher welfare standards for chickens kept to produce eggs. [146803]

Mr. Morley: Some 17 per cent. of egg production in the UK comes from free range systems.

Regulations are currently being drafted to implement EU Directive 99/74/EC which sets down improved welfare standards for laying hens in all production systems.

Agricultural Support

Paddy Ashdown: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his estimate is of the total financial support for (a) United Kingdom and (b) English agriculture (i) directly and (ii) indirectly in each year since 1990-91; and if he will make a statement. [145954]

Ms Quin [holding answer 25 January 2001]: Agricultural producers receive financial support in two ways: from consumers, as a result of the maintenance of market prices for some commodities at levels above those obtaining on world markets; and from taxpayers, in the form of direct receipts from the Exchequer.

The value of producer support receipts from consumers can only be estimated and is dependent upon several assumptions, including the level of world prices which would have obtained in the absence of the CAP. An estimate by research analysis of the value of market support received by producers and direct producer receipts from the Exchequer for the year 1997-98 has been published in a Ministry report "Reducing Farm Subsidies; Economic Adjustment in Rural Areas", which can be found on the Ministry website.

Total support received by UK producers from both of these sources was estimated to be a little under £6 billion in that year. A copy of the relevant table is to be found at Table 2. Some information concerning support receipts by English producers is also given.

Exchequer expenditure on UK agriculture for the years 1990-91 to 1999-2000 is also given. Expenditure peaked in 1996-97 as a result of the MacSharry reforms of the CAP--which shifted the burden of support from consumers to taxpayers--and the measures put in place in respect of BSE. Not all of these expenditures will have benefited farmers directly: for example, some expenditures relating to the cost of storing surplus produce are not a direct receipt by producers. Corresponding figures are not available in England.

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Table 2: Estimated CAP support(4) to UK agriculture by sector, 1997-98

£ million
Cereals Sugar beetFruit and vegetablesOilseedsProteinsLinseedSet aside and AAPS simplified
ArableTotalof which price supportPrice supportPrice supportDirect aidDirect aidDirect aidDirect aid
Northern Ireland74030006
United Kingdom1,0602811401601657035145
Percentage price support26--------------
Value of output, 19972,913--3001,15340612951--
Percentage of 1997 UK output36--4714415367--

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£ million

Beef Sheep DairyPoultry(6)
LivestockTotalof which price supportTotalof which Price supportPrice supportPrice supportGrand totalPrice support as a percentage of total support
Northern Ireland2235540131542045353
United Kingdom1,2402955251801,5052205,27053
Percentage price support24--35----------
Value of output, 19972,269--1,199--3,1601,48218,094--
Percentage of 1997 UK output55--44--471529--
Total UK CAP commodity support (£ billion)5.27
Other national and structural spending (£ billion)0.61
Total support received by UK farmers (£ billion)5.88
As a proportion of gross output (percentage)32

(4) Price support estimated by multiplying production volumes by the estimated UK-world price gaps.

(5) English and UK figures rounded to the nearest £5 million. Figures may not add up due to rounding.

(6) Price support for other intensive livestock, net of excess feed costs arising from cereals market support, is assumed to equal zero.


1. Direct payments include: AAPS; for beef--BSPS, SCPS, OTMS and de-seasonalisation premium (NI only), but excluding BSE-emergency measures paid in 1997; for sheep--SAPS; plus HLCAs for beef and sheep (worth £0.1 billion). Other national and structural funding is not included in the detailed figures.

2. Ornamentals and potatoes are assumed to receive no direct or market support.


MAFF, Economic and Statistics Group, August 1999

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Table 1: UK public expenditure under the CAP and on national grants and subsidies

Year (April-March)£ million

(7) Forecast


Agriculture in the United Kingdom

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish details of recipients of agricultural support in excess of £500,000 per annum. [147543]

Ms Quin [holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Code of Practice on Access to Government Information defines the categories of information which are exempt from the commitments to provide information. Part II indent 12 (Privacy of an Individual) exempts disclosure to a third party of personal information which could facilitate a unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Additionally, Article 9 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 3508/92 of 27 November 1992 establishing an integrated administration and control system for certain Community aid schemes, states that

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It is therefore not appropriate to publish such details of recipients of agricultural support for reasons of confidentiality.

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