Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fortieth Report

Further memorandum from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


  1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:
  2. Article 8 of the 1997 Order provides for estimates, based on a previous return, on published accounts or other figures, or by reference to previous records. Article 5(d) and (h) of the draft order provides that in some circumstances the amount of that estimate "increased by up to 10%" may be treated as a producer's or purchaser's return. Please explain:

    -  for which purposes of the 1997 Order the estimate increased by the percentage is to be treated as the return, and, in particular, whether it is relevant for the purposes of charges under Article 9;

    -  on what basis the Council is expected to fix the level of the percentage increase;

    -  which provision of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947 is relied on for treating as a return a figure that is up to 10% higher than an estimate of that return.

  3. The purposes of the 1997 Order for which an increased estimate is to be treated as the return are, as the Committee has identified, the levying of charges under Article 9 of the Order. The returns provide information as to the hectares of land used to grow potatoes or number of tonnes of potatoes sold which is then used to calculate the charge which a person must pay. Estimates are used for these purposes where a producer or purchaser fails to make a return.
  4. The British Potato Council makes an initial estimate by reference to the previous year's return or published accounts, or where these are not available, any information it has about the previous year. It is expected then to fix the level of any increase (up to a maximum of 10%) on the basis of any information which the Council has as to any change in the number of hectares grown or of the number of tonnes sold since the previous year.
  5. The provisions of the Industrial Organisation and Development Act 1947 which are relied on are sections 1(5) and 4. Section 4 grants general powers to provide for the imposition by a development council of charges for the purposes set out in subsection (1) of that section. Section 1(5) enables a development council order to provide for any incidental or supplementary matters for which it appears to the Secretary of State to be necessary or expedient to provide. The 1997 Order imposed duties on producers and purchasers to make returns, and for an estimate to be treated as a return where a producer or purchaser fails to make a return. The draft Order makes further provision as to what is to be treated as the return in these circumstances. It is considered that this falls within section 4 taken together with section 1(5) of the 1947 Act.

31 October 2002



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