State Aid

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the Spanish agricultural organisations of national importance as referred to in state aid approval notice N 400/2005 whose state funding has been authorised by the Commission; whether UK agricultural organisations of national importance have (a) requested and (b) been granted equivalent state funding authorised by the European Commission; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity)

Aid scheme N 400/2005 provides for (a) start-up aid for new producer groups and (b) aid-related to the extension of the activities of existing producer groups. In both cases the remit of the producer group must extend to more than one autonomous region of Spain. We do not have information on the Spanish groups that have received aid, the award of which is a matter for the Spanish Government.

The aid scheme covered by state aid approval notice N 400/2005 is a national scheme which applies only in Spain. The UK has not sought state aid approval for a grant scheme offering a similar type of aid and we have no plans to do so. We have, however, obtained approval under aid scheme N 424/2003, to provide grant to English Farming and Food Partnerships which was set up to encourage and support collaboration and co-operation between farmers in England, and between farmers and the rest of the food chain. Grants are also available under the Agriculture Development Scheme (aid N 505/2002 extended as N 508/2005) for projects in England which involve collaboration and co-operation benefiting primary producers.

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