Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum submitted by S T Rimmer & Son (O54)

  1.  A slightly modified option 1 is the only way to meet all the requirements of the reform of the EU sugar regime. This would involve simplification of the system but with guaranteed prices and quotas albeit at slightly reduced levels. This would be the only way to still give aid to the less developed countries and still maintain a supply of good quality sugar to the users in this country, any of the other options would not benefit the consumer or tax payer and would, I believe, eventually lead to price rises with poor quality and short supply as has happened in the steel industry.

  2.  Being a small family business involving farming and agricultural haulage contracting. The reduction of sugar production in this country would have a grave effect on our business with approximately 50% of our income coming from the transportation of sugar beet and by-products ie lime X and pulp nuts, if this came to an end we would have to scale down our business accordingly. This would not only mean a loss of jobs with all the related expenses to the Government but also a loss of revenue from fuel duty of approximately £1.10p per tonne of every tonne of sugar beet we move from Lancashire and the same for all by-products we bring back on return loads. The average distance of all sugar beet transportation in this country is approximately 28 miles, most without return loads, this equates to some 56 miles with a duty of over 60p per tonne not an inconsiderable sum in total.

  3.  If all the EU states had the same sugar controls as Great Britain ie 50% home production and 50% imported from the less developed countries etc, this reform would in my considered opinion not need to take place. It is France and Germany with their massive over production against consumption, which is a drain on the EU budget.

  4.  On the growing side of sugar beet the loss of sugar production in this country would have a wide and long term effect on British agriculture, with the guaranteed returns of this crop used by many growers as collateral for overdrafts etc at the bank not to mention job losses in the agricultural industry and suppliers of machinery etc, which would eventually place a drain on the British tax payer.

  5.  Finally I would ask you to support British agriculture who as stated in paragraph 3 are the only EU state to have 50% import from less developed countries and Option 1 would help this to continue with no disruption to supply and quality and aid long term development to continue.

31 March 2004

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