HC Deb 14 June 1979 vol 968 cc600-1
5. Mr. Beith

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the condition of hill farming in Northumberland following the severe winter; and whether he will take action to assist hill farmers.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

I have received reports of the effects of the winter weather. My right hon. Friend the Minister and the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales are now examining proposals from the farmers unions for further assistance to hill livestock producers.

Mr. Beith

Does the Minister agree that the hill compensatory allowance could be the key to general, rather than specific, assistance for hill farming, and is he willing to use his powers with that allowance to the maximum? Also, can he hold out hope of an early statement on the green pound?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

We are very much aware of the concern, and the extra costs and losses which have been incurred, in these areas. I assure the hon. Gentleman that we shall be looking closely at the precise areas that he has mentioned.

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