HC Deb 13 February 1976 vol 905 cc399-400W
Mr. McCartney

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any proposals to mitigate the effect on Scottish farmers of the overall limit placed on payments of hill livestock compensatory allowances; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. William Ross

The overall limitation on payments of 50 units of account per hectare of eligible land is likely to affect less than 3 per cent. of those in Scotland eligible to receive compensatory allowances. However, during the negotiations on the EEC Less-Favoured Areas Directive, the Government were able to obtain a concession to make payments in excess of the limit on an interim basis to farmers in certain remote parts of Scotland and the Scottish isles. Subject to consultation with the European Commission I propose to apply this concession for a period of two years to the former crofting counties of Argyll, Caithness, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Orkney and Shetland and to the Islands of Arran, Bute and Cumbria.

I propose that these excess payments should rely upon the authority of the Estimate and the confirming Appropriation Act. I shall in due course be submitting a Supplementary Estimate for 1975–76, and in the meantime I propose to have recourse to the Contingencies Fund for making these payments.

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