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Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:29 pm on 25th June 1996.

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Photo of Tony Baldry Tony Baldry Minister of State (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) 5:29 pm, 25th June 1996

Under the first part of the scheme, the UK's share of the £527 million is £13.96 million. There is additional money for further national aid. It will be sensible to wait to see what emerges from the Council meeting in terms of the total package to assist UK clean beef producers and any further assistance that we can give them. We must ensure that the intervention system works as effectively as possible.

The system is still not ideally suited to UK operators— not least because it fails to take sufficient account of the costs that slaughterers face in disposing of the so-called fifth quarter. Fifth quarter returns depended crucially on their being a market for meat, bonemeal and red offals. Those markets have effectively been removed, in part by the prohibition on the use of mammalian protein in animal feed in the UK, and in part by the imposition of the EU export ban, which has greatly reduced the demand for offal. As such, slaughterers face additional costs in disposing of unsaleable produce. Those costs are not taken into account in the so-called processor's margin allowed for in the calculation of maximum acceptable bids under the rules for intervention tenders. We have pressed the Commission hard on that aspect and will continue to press it hard to devise a proposal to increase the margin to reflect more nearly the actual costs faced by the industry. We are determined to do all that we can to help the under-30-month clean beef producer.