HC Deb 23 March 1995 vol 257 cc478-9
15. Mr. Waterson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps are being taken to encourage on-the-hook meat exports. [13890]

Mr. Waldegrave

I shall address a Meat and Livestock Commission conference on 3 April on developing outlets for dairy breed beef, including exports. I shall encourage good applications for meat export initiatives to come forward under MAFF's marketing schemes.

Mr. Waterson

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his answer. Can he confirm that United Kingdom meat exports have nearly doubled since 1991? Does that not underline the expertise and export success of British companies such as Anglo Dutch Meats in my constituency?

Mr. Waldegrave

I can more than confirm what my hon. Friend asks. In 1994 United Kingdom meat exports were worth £950 million; in 1984 they were worth £400 million. There has been a huge expansion in exports, which is a tribute to businesses such as those to which my hon. Friend refers.

Mr. Martyn Jones

Will not the establishment of a meat hygiene agency, as proposed by the Government, double abattoir inspection charges, and will that not further discourage on-the-hook exports?

Mr. Waldegrave

No. There has already been an increase as a result of the European Community directive that applies to veterinary inspection of abattoirs, but that is separate from the activities of the meat hygiene service. The service has assured me that it will cut the overall cost: the amount of resources going into inspection will be smaller than it was under the local authority regime.

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