HL Deb 17 February 1982 vol 427 cc641-2WA
Lord O'Hagan

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will state what benefit they calculate has been received by British farmers since the introduction of the EEC sheepmeat régime; and whether they will make a statement about "claw-back".

Earl Ferrers

British farmers have benefited from an increase in their guaranteed returns which, for the 1981–82 marketing year, are about 25 per cent. above the national guarantee level before the introduction of the régime in 1980. In addition, breeders benefit from the annual premium on ewes, of which the first payments, amounting to just over £2 a ewe, were made last autumn. British farmers received approximately £145 million in support under the régime to the end of 1981.

The effect of the requirement to claw back variable premium on our exports to other member states remains a matter of concern, although trade has been good during the autumn and winter months. My right honourable friend has made it clear that we will be seeking improvements to the clawback arrangements. Exports to third countries are exempt from clawback and in its proposals for the 1982–83 marketing year the Commission has proposed the continuation of this exemption.