§ Mr. Maclennan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to ensure that the production of sheep in the hills and uplands of Scotland is not jeopardised by expansion of sheep production on better quality farmland.
§ Mr. John MacKay
There is at present no evidence to show that appreciable expansion of sheep production is taking place on better quality land in Scotland. By paying hill livestock compensatory allowances worth £47 million in 1986–87, of which £22 million is paid on sheep, the Government already recognise that sheep production is more difficult in the hills and uplands. Producers on better quality land outwith the less-favoured areas do not qualify for these allowances. We also recognise the special position of hill and upland farmers by means of the advance payment of sheep annual premium which is made only to our farmers in the less-favoured areas. This year's advance payments, amounting to 75 per cent. of the total, were paid in two instalments in September 1986 and January 1987, and were worth over £14 million.