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12 Nov 2008 : Column 1222W—continued

Agreement has been reached on phasing out several of the remaining coupled payments, with their amounts usually being added to the decoupled SPS and SAPS, such that decoupling is budget neutral. The payments involved and relevant dates are presented in table 2. Decoupling is also a major focus of the current health check negotiations, where agreement is expected to be reached on phasing out several other coupled payments (with their amounts again being added to the SPS and SAPS), with expected phase-outs as presented in table 3. The UK “Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy” is clear that in the longer term, direct payments should be phased out completely, with payments to farmers targeted at delivering public benefits, including environmental benefits, through a re-shaped pillar two.

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12 Nov 2008 : Column 1224W
Table 2: Direct Aids already scheduled to be decoupled (or not scheduled to be decoupled)
Sector Current situation When scheduled to be phased out

POSEI (payments for bananas in the outermost regions)

75 per cent. coupled contribution to national assistance programmes for banana growers

No end date is fixed for this aid

Fruit and vegetables

The EU Processed Fruit and Vegetables Regime was subject to major reform in 2007, with agreement reached on a phased approach to full decoupling:

Tomatoes for processing: 1 January 2012

Other processing aids: 1 January 2013

Tomatoes for processing—member states may allow a maximum four-year transitional period provided that the coupled element of the payment does not exceed 50 per cent. of the corresponding component of the national ceiling

Other processing aids—member states may allow a maximum five-year transitional period until at the latest 31 December 2012, provided that after 31 December 2010, the coupled proportion of the payment does not exceed 75 per cent. of the corresponding component of the national ceiling in 2011 and 2012 respectively


There are no direct aids in the sugar sector, but there is a transitional fund to help the sugar sector restructure

The transitional aid is due to end in 2010

There are also separate sugar payments as part of the Single Payment Scheme


Progressive reduction in coupled support from 2006 to 2010



100 per cent. coupled payment.

No end date is fixed for this payment


65 per cent./35 per cent. split of decoupled/coupled payments

Agriculture Council agreed in 2008 to maintain coupled aid payments at these levels

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Table 3: Health check proposals for decoupling
Sector Current situation Health Check proposal


Member states may retain partial coupled payments in:

Full decoupling from 2010 and integrate into Single Payment Scheme (SPS)

Arable Crops Payments (up to 25 per cent.)

Durum Wheat Quality Supplement (up to 40 per cent.)

Hops (up to 25 per cent.)

100 per cent. exclusion of certain or all species

Olive oil

Aid for olive groves could remain up to 40 per cent. coupled

Full decoupling in 2010 and integration in SPS


Member States may retain coupled payments in:

Slaughter premium for young animals, slaughter premium for adult animals and special beef premium: full decoupling in two steps (50 per cent. coupled in 2010, 50 per cent. coupled in 2011 and 100 per cent. decoupled in 2012 and onwards). Shift to SPS

Suckler Cow Premium (up to 100 per cent.)

No change in suckler cow and sheep and goatmeat

Special beef premium (up to 75 per cent.)

Slaughter Premium (up to 40 per cent. for adults and 100 per cent. for calves)

Sheep and Goats (up to 50 per cent.)

Flax and Hemp

Option of 25 per cent. partial coupling as arable crops area payment. Short fibre flax to be phased out in 2008-09. Long fibre flax to be increased to €40/tonne in 2009-10.

Decouple long fibre flax processing aid and shift to SPS in 2 steps: 50 per cent. in 2011 and full decoupling in 2013.

Dried Fodder

Retain processing aid (per tonne, uniform for dehydrated and dried fodder)

Decouple processing aid and shift to SPS in 2011

Starch potato

Aid for starch producers (60 per cent. of pre-2003 level) paid per tonne of starch delivered. A transformation aid is granted to the manufacturers per tonne of potato starch with guaranteed minimum prices within the quota limit. Finally, production refunds for starch are granted when using starch for the production of certain goods

Decouple aid to growers and shift to SPS (phasing out in 2013, in two steps: 50 per cent. in 2011 and full decoupling in 2013); decouple processing aid and shift to SPS in 2011; removal of quotas by 2013; abolish production refund in 2009

Energy crop premium

Aid of EUR 45 per hectare for energy crops for the production of biofuels and electric and thermal energy produced from biomass

Abolish in 2010

Durum Wheat

Aid of EUR 40 per hectare, granted subject to the use of certain quantities of certified seeds of varieties recognised as being of high quality for the production of semolina or pasta

Abolition and shift to SPS in 2010

Protein crops

Aid of EUR 55, 57 per hectare of protein crops (peas, field beans, lupins)

Decouple and shift into SPS in 2010

Specific payment for rice

Aid per hectare, the value set according to the yields in the member states concerned

Decouple and shift to SPS (50 per cent. in 2010 and further 50 per cent. in 2012)


Aid per hectare granted to farmers producing nuts, with a possibility of granting additional national aid

Decouple and shift to SPS in 2010

Single Area Payment Scheme (SAPS)

New member states have to change to SPS by 2010-11

Prolong possibility of applying SAPS until end 2013

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what sanctions are available in cases of departmental staff found to have committed disciplinary offences; and how many times each has been used in each of the last three years. [230207]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The Civil Service Management Code sets out the requirements for Departments to have procedures in place to deal with conduct and disciplinary issues. The DEFRA procedures are laid down in the staff handbook which is accessed on the departmental intranet. The sanctions available to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are as follows:

The number of times that the aforementioned sanctions have been confirmed in the last three financial years are listed as follows. The dismissal sanction represents the final outcome of disciplinary action taken in an individual misconduct case.

Sanction Number

1 April 2005 to 31 March 2006



Written reprimands


1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007



Written reprimands


Written warnings


Transfer to new location


1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008



Written warnings


Departmental ICT

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what IT projects (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies is undertaking; and what the most recent estimate of (i) the cost and (ii) the completion date of each is. [229162] [Official Report, 27 March 2009, Vol. 490, c. 5MC.]

Huw Irranca-Davies: The following table details current major IT projects in DEFRA and its largest executive agencies, the Rural Payments Agency and Animal Health.

The projects detailed are those which cost more than £1 million over the life of the project. Costs listed as follows exclude day-to-day running costs after the completion of the project.

Projects costing less than £1 million and those within smaller Executive Agencies have been excluded as data collection for these would incur a disproportionate cost to the Department to compile.

12 Nov 2008 : Column 1227W
Project Expected completion date Estimated costs £

Animal Health Business Reform Programme

March 2011


Cap Health Check Implementation Programme

November 2009


Customer Land Database (CLAD)

October 2009


Enabling Technology

March 2009


INSPIRE/UK Location Strategy Implementation Programme

December 2012


Renew IT

March 2009


Rural Payments Agency Managed Document Service

March 2009


Rural Payments Agency Rural Land Register Upgrade

March 2012


Rural Payments Agency Single Payment System Upgrade (including CAP Health Check)

November 2009


Rural Payments Agency Storage Servers Upgrade

March 2010


Spatial Information Repository (SPIRE)

August 2009


Web Rationalisation

March 2011


Whole Farm Approach

March 2011


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