Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Seventeenth Report


Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


  The Joint Committee considered the above instrument at its meeting on 2 December and has requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)   This instrument was made on 13 October 1997 but was not laid until 13 November 1997. Explain the reason for this delay.

       The delay arose from a desire, on the part of the Ministry, to lay final, printed copies before Parliament. The Ministry allowed a generous period for making, proof-reading and printing the SI to ensure this was achieved.

    (2)   To assist the reader, and having regard to the complexity of the principal Regulations (as amended), does the Department expect to consolidate the Regulations in the near future?

       The instrument was the fourth amendment to the principal Regulations. It was not considered that the principal Regulations (as amended) had become so complex that they could not readily be understood. Consolidation is, however, considered every time an amending instrument falls to be made, in the light of the number and complexity of the amending instruments and the time available for producing a consolidated text. The next time the principal Regulations fall to be amended, they are likely to be consolidated.

    (3)   Explain why the name of the first signatory is not printed in italics.

       The Ministry regrets this oversight by the printer. The proof-copy is sent to the printer with the signature details in manuscript.

    (4)   Elaborate upon the explanation provided in paragraph 4 of the Explanatory Note.

       Paragraph 4 of the Explanatory Note was intended to give a succinct but clear analysis of the Community instruments referred to therein. By virtue of Article 4(5) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 3887/92 (OJ No. L391, 31.12.92. p.36) sheep farmers who are applying for sheep annual premium only need not submit an area aid application, otherwise known as an "IACS declaration". Certain sheep farmers whose land is in the uplands and who are known as "producers in less-favoured areas" are entitled to an automatic supplement to their sheep annual premium payments. New Article 1a(3) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2700/93 (OJ No. L245, 1.10.93, p.99), inserted by Article 1 of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1526/96 (OJ No. L190, 31.7.96, p.21), enabled the Ministry to oblige those sheep producers who are applying for sheep annual premium only and who are in principle not obliged to submit IACS declarations to prove they are producers in less-favoured areas by submitting IACS declarations. The references to the directly applicable Community instruments which are specified in paragraph 4 of the Explanatory Note indicated where any further elucidation that was desired as to the effect of new Article 1a(3) of Commission Regulation (EEC) No. 2700/93 might be found. In making those references, the draftsman had in mind paragraph 2.79 of "Statutory Instrument Practice" (2nd Edition).

    (5)   The Committee notes the blank space appearing after the names of the signatories at page 2. Explain why the printer was not instructed to print the Explanatory Note in that space in order to reduce the cost of the instrument.

       If the Committee is critical of the lay-out of the instrument, the Ministry regrets this; but on this particular occasion, the matter was left to the judgment of the printer.

8th December 1997

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