Set-aside Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th June 1991.

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Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick , Bosworth 12:00 am, 20th June 1991

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a further statement on his plans for a one year set-aside scheme.

Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

I shall be inviting applications from farmers so that they can gain the opportunity of entering into the one-year set-aside before the end of next month, which is the due date.

Photo of David Tredinnick David Tredinnick , Bosworth

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, because the scheme must be attractive to farmers, there is a strong case for having a United Kingdom payment over and above the EC proposed payments for set-aside?

Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

I believe that the offer will draw out of farms a sufficient amount of set-aside. I am not prepared to structure a scheme in such a way as to set aside large parts of Britain so that other countries can produce more. There must be comparability across Europe as a whole.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

If the Governor of the Bank of England can pick up £60,000 out of the Common Market set-aside scheme, surely that means that there is too much money in the budget. Why does not the Minister answer the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Dr. Clark)? Is not it true that, since the day the right hon. Gentleman was appointed to the job, our CAP contributions have gone up by 55 per cent. Yes or no?

Photo of John Gummer John Gummer Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

It is very flattering that the hon. Gentleman thinks that I control the level of the dollar; indeed, it is one of the most flattering comments that he has made to me. The hon. Gentleman may want to live in a country in which individuals are treated differently by the Government because of class prejudice, but the British people do not—even at the high taxation cost that that would produce.