§ Mr. Corbett
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals have been made to introduce grants for forage groups as envisaged in Article 11 of the EEC Directive on less favoured areas.
§ Mr. Bishop
My right hon. Friend proposes to make grants to forage groups in less favoured areas through the Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation Scheme 1971. The rates of grant proposed are 25 per cent, for forage machinery and 15 per cent, for tractors to be used with the machinery. These arrangements are subject to the approval of the Commission, and it is unlikely that this will be obtained in time for the scheme to start before June. In order that schemes are not held up my right hon. Friend is asking the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation to give urgent work authority where it considers it appropriate to applications made after today. I must make the point, however, that this urgent work authority does not carry any form of promise that a grant will be paid; it means only that any group so authorised may go ahead and buy its machines without454W contravening the "prior approval" requirements of the scheme.