Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:17 pm on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Children, Young People and Families) 12:17 pm, 29th March 2007

The Government must be alarmed by the criticism in the report of the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and by the level of fines. Will the Leader of the House make time, as soon as possible after the House's return from the Easter recess, for a debate to consider two particular aspects of the criticisms? The first is the fact that the level of the fines means that the farm budget has been raided. In addition, the rural development fund, which would otherwise have been used for flood alleviation schemes, is no longer at the level that it would have been without the fines. Secondly, as the Government are so keen to look into restructuring Departments and to consider the level of ministerial responsibility, will he please ensure that the Minister with responsibility for farms is a House of Commons man or woman, and is in this House to answer questions and receive correspondence? If that had been the case, the Government would have been aware of the difficulties much earlier.