Mr. John David Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what amounts of free European Economic Community surplus foods were made available for distribution to the needy in Northern Ireland; whai estimated percentage of this food still remains available for distribution; when this scheme ends; if he will make a statement on the operation of the scheme in Northern Ireland; and if he will thank all the voluntary workers who responded to the challenge of this scheme.
§ Mr. Viggers
The amount of food available was not specified on either a national or a regional basis. The European Commission made provision for the release of intervention products and the purchase of other foods on the open market.
The scheme ends on 31 March 1987.
In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, distribution has been carried out under the auspices of certain recognised charitable organisations which have met the demands on them admirably. the organisations were not restricted in their uptake of food under the scheme. Intervention board statistics show that up to week ending 13 March 1987, 1,253 tonnes of butter, 403 tonnes of beef, 19,162 pints of milk and 395 tonnes of cheese have been distributed in Northern Ireland.
The scheme had to be introduced as speedily as possible and I fully appreciate and thank the recognised organisations and other charitable groups for the great work which they have done for the needy in Northern Ireland by responding so enthusiastically and promptly to this very considerable task.