asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many claims for acreage payments have been submitted too late to rank for payment in each of the last three cereal deficiency payment years; and what are his reasons for abolishing the sending out of reminders to growers to send in these forms.
The number of late claims rejected in each of the last three years was 183, 165 and 123. I regret that information about the acreages involved is not available. It is the farmer's responsibility to submit his claims in time, and we do not issue reminders under other subsidy schemes.
The numbers which the Parliamentary Secretary has given are fairly substantial. He will realise that it has been the practice to issue reminders. Although, in spite of reminders, there has been this number, is not the hon. Gentleman afraid that it will be vastly greater without them? Does not this mean that many farmers who would otherwise be entitled to a subsidy will not get it? Is not this very unfortunate?
No. In the form which we are sending out we include this red printed slip, which surely should be adequate. We are trying to save money. To put out hundreds of thousands of extra reminders is quite a lot. That influenced us a good deal in stopping this reminder system.