HC Deb 07 May 1985 vol 78 cc322-3W
Mr. Hayes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what unpublished instructions were issued to members of the Dairy Produce Quota Tribunal for England and Wales on how they should decide quota awards; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor

The tribunal was authorised by the Dairy Produce Quotas Regulations 1984 to issue general guidance to local panels in England and Wales in respect of the criteria to be used by them in determining proceedings before them. This general guidance was published. In addition, the chairman of the tribunal, Lord Grantchester, issued a number of notes to members of the tribunal advising them on certain aspects of their work. In accordance with normal tribunal practice these notes, which were concerned mainly with administrative matters, have not been published. However, I am aware that there has been concern about one particular note which was issued on 24 November 1984 and which gave guidance on the calculation of yields to be taken into account in dealing with development claims. The purpose of this note was to ensure consistency between tribunal decisions and fairness to producers.

In view of the widespread interest in this particular note I have exceptionally, and with Lord Grantchester's agreement, arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. Forth

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what changes there will be in milk quotas in England and Wales in 1985–86; and when these will be announced.

Mr. Jopling

I regret that the delay in reaching agreement in the price fixing negotiations makes it impossible to make any announcement for the time being. Arrangements are in hand to inform individual producers of their quotas for 1985–86 as soon as possible once decisions on the price fixing have been reached.

However, I am pleased to say that for 1985–86 small producers, that is those with less than 200,000 liters of quotas, will have their quota brought back up to their base year production levels, which in the vast majority of cases will mean their level of production in 1983. This means that for about 40 per cent. of all producers we have wiped out last year's 9 per cent. reduction. I am also pleased to say that for 1985–86 exceptional hardship awards will be made at 100 per cent. of the amount awarded. This means that the two principal objectives of the outgoers scheme have been achieved.

Direct sellers with less than 200,000 liters will, like wholesale producers, be brought back to their base year level. Producers with both direct sales and wholesale quota will benefit from similar adjustments if the total of their two quotas is less than 200,000 litres. However, no producer's quota will be increased above 200,000 litres, and the adjustments will be tapered to avoid anomalies between producers just above or below the 200,000 litre level. Moreover, the increases will not be applied to development quota.