HC Deb 25 November 1999 vol 339 cc739-40
3. Maria Eagle (Liverpool, Garston)

What plans he has to ban fur farming in Great Britain. [98839]

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Elliot Morley)

A Bill to ban fur farming in England and Wales was introduced on 22 November. I understand that the Scottish Executive will be introducing a separate Bill to extend the ban to Scotland.

Maria Eagle

I thank the Minister for the part that he has undoubtedly played in persuading the Government to take up my private Member's Bill from the previous Session, which was unfortunately blocked on Report. Does he think that the fur farmers now also support the ban, although they did not at the beginning of the last Session, and is he surprised to hear the Conservative party now calling for compensation for every type of farmer but fur farmers?

Mr. Morley

I pay tribute to my hon. Friend's work in promoting her private Member's Bill. It was through that promotion that we had negotiations with the NFU and the Fur Breeders Association. The Bill that we are promoting is an enabling Bill, which will make provision for compensation. We have had a letter from the Fur Breeders Association which makes it clear that it does not want to be kept in limbo and, if the measure makes provision for compensation, it would like to see that progress.

Mr. Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)

There is a mink fur farmer in my constituency, so I am interested in what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle) said because I am keen that there should be full and proper compensation for my constituent. Can the Minister give an assurance that, if compensation is not deemed sufficient, an independent committee or arbitration system will be established so that fur farmers can obtain independent clarification on what compensation they deserve?

Mr. Morley

I can give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. There will be two provisions, one for independent arbitration agreed by both sides and, if that is not agreed, a fall-back provision for binding arbitration from the Lands Tribunal.

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