§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the current situation concerning distribution of European Community surpluses to the elderly.
§ Mr. Curry
I assume that the question refers to the European Community's surplus food scheme. This requires member states to distribute surplus stocks of certain foods to the most needy in the community (defined in the United Kingdom as those on income support or family credit or people living in welfare hostels or of no fixed abode), not simply to the elderly.
The United Kingdom has some 3,000 tonnes of butter and 3,000 tonnes of beef available for distribution under the scheme, and all of this produce has been released from intervention stores. Distributions to eligible recipients have been taking place for some time now and I expect that most of the produce will have been distributed before the end of 1989, but the timing of distribution is a matter for the designated organisations to decide according to local needs and their own capacity.