§ Mr. Wigley
asked the Secretary of Wales if he will give details of the pension and compensation package which will be available to beef farmers in Wales who convert their land to other use.
§ Mr. Nicholas Edwards
My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food made a statement on 17 December 1986 on the outcome of the meeting of the Council of Agricultural Ministers in Brussels between 13 and 16 December 1986.
The Council agreed a package of measures for the beef sector including the retention in the United Kingdom of the beef variable premium for a further two years. This will be of particular benefit to our beef farmers and provide an important element of stability.
At the same meeting the Council broadly approved in outline a package of socio-structural measures. This will be of interest to all farmers—including those in beef production—and, if agreed, will involve a pre-pension scheme linked to the non-cultivation of agricultural land. Detailed decisions on the precise nature of the package have yet to be taken but these are expected to be made in the next few weeks.