§ Mr. Speller
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will be in a position to announce the payment of hill farm subsidies; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. MacGregor
As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Ceredigion and Pembroke, North (Mr. Howells), the failure of the Council of Ministers at its meeting on 9–10 January to agree to the terms on which the structures directives should be continued has caused a temporary delay in the start of payments of 1984 hill livestock compensatory allowances. I fully appreciate the importance to hill farmers of receiving their allowances at this time of year and we are pressing for urgent resolution of the legal difficulties in Brussels. Meanwhile, claims are being processed and it is our intention to begin payments as soon as the way is clear.—[Vol. 52, c.382.]