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Tobacco: EU Grants and Loans

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 21st May 2008.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 May 2008, Official Report, columns 1341-2W, on tobacco: EU grants and loans, what steps he is taking to persuade other EU member states to reduce levels of subsidy to tobacco producers.

Photo of Jonathan R Shaw Jonathan R Shaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs) and Minister for the South East), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

As a non-producer, the UK has concerns about the cost and health implications of the tobacco regime. Subsidies are at odds with the European Community sponsored Europe Against Cancer programme and UK health objectives. The UK has always been critical of the regime.

Ideally the UK would prefer to see it abolished, and so favour progressive disengagement from the sector. Following the 2004 reform, direct support for tobacco production will be progressively brought to an end by 2010. As the majority of member states are tobacco producers it was extremely difficult to secure earlier reform of the regime however the UK is pleased that the link between production and subsidy will finally be brought to an end.

Subsidies in 2007 were €335.5 million, a reduction from the €810.9 million granted in 2006.

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