HC Deb 23 March 1984 vol 56 cc591-2W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will publish in the Official Report particulars of the recent European Economic Community decision to extend the area covered by hill-farming or deprived area farming subsidies and, in particular, the number of additional cattle and sheep affected, the number of holdings, the estimated size distribution of holdings, and the amount of extra subsidy expected at the present rate in a full year.

Mr. MacGregor

The recent decision by the Council of Ministers to extend the United Kingdom's less favoured areas adds 1.2 million hectares of land to the 8.65 million hectares originally designated in 1975. This means that about 53 per cent. of the United Kingdom's total utilisable agricultural area is now designated as less favoured. The extension enables the Government to provide the additional aid my right hon. Friend announced on 30 November last to farmers in the new areas who farm under permanent natural handicaps. No information is available on size distribution of holdings in the newly designated areas. However, estimates of the other data requested are as follows:

United Kingdom
Number of beef cattle 110,000
Number of sheep 1,025,000
Number of holdings 28,600