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Farmers: Subsidies

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party 3:15 pm, 7th November 2016

T5. Ms Mallon asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, in reference to a question asked by Mr McNulty, whether the Minister for the Economy agrees with the position of the British Minister with responsibility for farming George Eustice that we should end the notion of subsidies for our farmers. (AQT 430/16-21)

Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP

I do not think that I have ever had the chance to say this in the House: Mr Speaker, I refer the Member to the answer that I gave some moments ago.

Photo of Nichola Mallon Nichola Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party

I will go back to Hansard, but I asked the question again because I am still unclear. May I, then, ask the Minister whether the Executive stand over the Agriculture Minister's statement during the referendum that agriculture here relies on subsidies and there is no reason why they would cease outside the EU? Given that, can he shed any light on how much will be given in subsidies to Northern Ireland farmers and for how long post any Brexit?

Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP

Regardless of whether the UK is in or outside the European Union, we have an agri-food sector and industry that require support. I know that the Minister is working very hard in close consultation with the industry in Northern Ireland. She and I co-chair a Brexit consultative committee that brings together stakeholders from across the sector to take their views and the temperature of the industry to identify the challenges and opportunities for the sector in Northern Ireland. Amongst the issues that they and others raise with us is the need to have a support scheme in place post the UK leaving the European Union. I look forward to that being much less bureaucratic and much less difficult to operate than the scheme currently in place.