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Common Agricultural Policy

David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much money from the Common Agricultural Policy has gone into the Yorkshire and Humber region in each of the past five years. [143305]

Alun Michael: The table shows the payments made by the Rural Payments Agency and its predecessors under the Common Agricultural Policy in the Yorkshire and Humber region in each of the past five European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund years— 16 October to 15 October. The figures quoted for 1999 relate to the period from 1 March of that year when the Agency introduced its new accounting system.

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Amount (£)
1999147,906,481.89
2000265,826,830.32
2001265,162,593.53
2002254,428,355.91
2003256,035,777.90

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conditions have been imposed by the European Commission in respect of the submission of claims for expenditures incurred and payments made by her Department in relation to foot and mouth disease. [150850]

Mr. Bradshaw: The European Commission has been very specific with regards to the timing for the submission of the UK claims, and the type of expenditure eligible for re-imbursement from the Community for eradication of FMD in 2001. Eligible expenditure is detailed in Council Decision 90/424/EC (Article 11) and includes compensation for slaughter of animals; the destruction of milk; the cleaning and disinfection of premises; and the transport and destruction of carcasses.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what specific and general requirements are imposed or otherwise demanded by the European Commission in relation to establishing and proving an audit trail for expenditures incurred and payments made by Her Majesty's Government during the foot and mouth epidemic, in respect of sums repayable in whole or in part by the Commission. [150552]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Commission auditors continue to carry out on the spot checks of the costs incurred during the 2001 FMD outbreak. These checks include the examination of invoices and supporting documentation in line with recognised auditing procedures.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total value is of the claims made by Her Majesty's Government to the European Commission in respect of costs incurred in dealing with the foot and mouth disease epidemic of 2001; and what the total value is of the payments made by the Commission. [150553]

Mr. Bradshaw: The total value of the claims made to the European Commission in respect of costs incurred in dealing with the foot and mouth disease epidemic of 2001 was £1,581 million. The maximum rate of reimbursement is 60 per cent. of these costs; so the potential reimbursement is £949 million.

The Commission's auditors are still auditing the claim and have not indicated when they will complete their audit. To date the Commission has made payments to the United Kingdom of £238 million.

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Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the cost to date is to her Department of (a) auditing and (b) legal fees in respect of (i) investigating claims relating to foot and mouth disease payments, (ii) pursuing and prosecuting alleged or suspected fraudulent claims, and (iii) conducting civil actions; [150556]

Mr. Bradshaw: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Weston-super-Mare (Brian Cotter) on 6 January 2004, Official Report, columns 259–62W.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total payments made to date are to farmers in respect of compensation for animals slaughtered by her Department, and its predecessor, in relation to the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001. [150557]

Mr. Bradshaw: The total payments to farmers to date in respect of compensation for animals slaughtered, by the Department and its predecessor, in relation to foot and mouth disease is £1,033 million.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the total value is of the payments due to farmers in respect of compensation claimed for animals slaughtered by her Department in relation to the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001, that remain unpaid by her Department. [150558]

Mr. Bradshaw: The total value of the payments due to farmers in respect of compensation claimed for animals slaughtered in relation to the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001 was £1,033 million. All the farmers have been paid the sums due to them.

Maize Subsidy

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the present subsidy regime is for maize production; and what the total amount spent on subsidising maize production was in the last three financial years. [149638]

Alun Michael: Maize is among the crops which are eligible for support under the EU support system for producers of certain arable crops, implemented through the Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS). In the last three financial years (2001–02 to 2003–04), payments for maize to AAPS claimants in England after modulation are calculated to be £13.5 million.

The EU Common Market organisation for cereals also provides for public intervention for maize and export refunds.

Milk

Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the operation of the milk-dairy supply chain. [148693]

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Alun Michael: Last year the Milk Development Council commissioned a study by KPMG on "Prices and Profitability in the British Dairy Chain" which highlighted a number of areas where the operation of the dairy supply chain might contribute to low farmgate prices in the UK, including the structure of the UK industry, the low value of the product mix and the low level of product innovation within the UK compared with some member states. The Report also identified a number of areas where supply chain efficiency could be improved, through rationalisation or benchmarking.

Many of these factors are for the industry itself to address. However, the Government can and has taken action to facilitate industry action in line with its Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food. In particular:






Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on fluctuations in the level of the farm gate price of milk in the last 20 years. [148694]

Alun Michael: The fluctuations in the farmgate price of milk over the last 20 years are caused by a number of factors, including the level of supplies, demand on EU and world markets and exchange rates. However, none of these factors are sufficient to explain why UK farmgate prices have been constantly below the EU average with the exception of a few years after deregulation of the milk market in 1994. This question was examined by KPMG in its report on "Prices and Profitability in the GB Supply Chain", which was commissioned by the Milk Development Council and published last year. The Report concluded that low farmgate prices in the UK were largely the product the structure of the UK industry, the low value of the product mix and the low level of product innovation within the UK compared with some Member States. The Report also identified a number of areas where farmgate prices could be improved by increasing supply chain efficiency, through rationalisation or through benchmarking.

Many of these factors are for the industry to address itself, the Government has taken action in line with its Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food to facilitate industry action. In particular:


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