Environment Food and Rural Affairs
Jacob Rees-Mogg (North East Somerset, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the scope of the Rural Payments Agency to exercise discretion when imposing penalties for breach of cross-compliance.
David Heath (Somerton and Frome, Liberal Democrat)
The scope of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to exercise discretion in imposing penalties for breaches of cross-compliance is defined by EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) legislation. This allows the RPA to make decisions based on a number of factors, such as severity and permanence of a breach. Following the assessment made by the Macdonald Task Force, Sir James Paice agreed to explore how the system of penalties for breaches might be made more proportionate to the outcomes of the breach. Exploring whether there is scope for further discretion now forms part of negotiations relating to cross-compliance within the overall reform of the CAP currently under way.