§ Mr. Pym
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will set out the precise details of the increased hill cow, hill beef and hill sheep subsidies announced on 3rd October; if he will indicate what increase farmers will receive on each eligible animal; when they will receive it; and what money will be made available next year for the continuation of the subsidy.
§ Mr. Peart
Under the hill cow schemes producers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received £24.50 per eligible cow in respect of the 1974 qualifying date in June. As soon as possible in 1975 they will receive a further payment of £24.50 563W per eligible cow in respect of the 1975 qualifying date of 1st January.
Under the beef cow schemes, producers in Northern Ireland who have recently received £11 per eligible animal in respect of the 1974 qualifying date in June will receive a further payment of £11 per eligible cow early next year in respect of the 1975 qualifying date of 1st January. In England and Wales, where the 1974 qualifying date for this scheme is 31st December and the new qualifying date will also now become 1st January, payments in respect of 1974 and 1975 will be paid together, so producers will receive a double payment of £22 per eligible cow early next year.
For both the hill cow and beef cow subsidies the new qualifying date will continue to be used so the next payments will become due as from 1st January 1976. The detailed arrangements in Scotland, which are a matter for the Secretary of State, are somewhat different, but the effect on Scottish farmers will be broadly the same.
Under the hill sheep schemes the December qualifying date remains unchanged throughout the United Kingdom and as from this week the lower rate per eligible ewe has been increased from £1.20 to £2.25 and the higher rate from £1.75 to £3 per eligible animal.
All these payments will be made as quickly as possible after applications have been received in order to improve producers' cash flows and help them pay their feed bills this winter.
The future level of the rates for these subsidies is a matter for discussion at the annual review.