§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent measures his Department has taken to combat European Community fraud.398W
§ Mr. Curry
The Government have taken the initiative in the Council of Ministers on several occasions to press for further action to deal with fraud in the common agricultural policy and good progress is now being made on strengthening controls. Proposals are currently under discussion which would require member states to carry out annual physical checks on intervention stocks and a minimum level of inspections on consignments attracting export refunds; and to improve the system of audit checks on firms making or receiving CAP payments. My Department is actively involved in these negotiations and is working towards early implementation. In addition, new anti-fraud controls and penalties have recently been introduced into a number of CAP schemes, such as the suckler-cow premium beef special premium and durum wheat production aid.