§ Mr. Peart
The scheme of marketing premiums will come into operation on 5th August. Payments will be made on clean cattle certified at liveweight and deadweight certification centres. The Community Regulations, under which the United Kingdom scheme is being introduced, are still in the course of completion. Full details of the United Kingdom arrangements will be announced as soon as possible by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce who will be administering the scheme.
The premiums are to be paid seasonally at a maximum rate rising from £9.24 a head in August to £32.34 a head in February. The total cost of the scheme for this period is estimated to be up to £40 million, of which £17 million will be made available from FEOGA. Estimate provision will be taken in due course. Mean-whiles there will be recourse to the Contingencies Fund.
The introduction of this scheme is an important development in the livestock sector. It should encourage producers to market cattle in a regular and orderly manner, and help ensure reasonable and stable prices in our markets.
§ Mr. Jopling
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, what action he intends to take to ensure the fulfilment of his promise of 26th June to give beef producers a guarantee of about £18 cwt, if it becomes clear that the slaughter premium he has announced 256W is inadequate to provide an average return of about £18.
§ Mr. Bishop
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) on 25th July.
§ Mr. John Biffen
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will initiate discussions with the EEC Commission in order to determine to which countries the surplus stocks of beef have been effectively sold; and if he will publish a list of the recipient countries and quantities of beef, in light of the widespread public interest in this topic.
§ Mr. Bishop
This is a matter for the EEC Commission and we are asking it if such information can be made available.
§ Mr. Arthur Jones
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how his assurance that producers' returns will not drop below about £18 per live cwt. for clean quality cattle is implemented under the scheme to commence on the 5th August which provides for headage payments to be made regardless of weight on graded beef; and if he will give examples for the months of August to February inclusive.
§ Mr. Bishop
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the Membef for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) on 25th July. Full details of the scheme will be announced as soon as possible.