HL Deb 19 March 1990 vol 517 cc185-6WA
The Earl of Swinton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What advances on payment of sheep annual premium they intend to make.

Baroness Trumpington

The revised sheepmeat regime which my right honourable friend the Minister negotiated last year gives member states the option of making two advances of premium to all sheep producers, or of combining the two advances into a single payment which would be made at the time the second advance was due.

We recognise the advantage to producers of an early ac vance payment. We also see it as important to ensure that United Kingdom producers are not at a disadvantage compared with producers in other member states. We have, therefore, decided to adopt the system of two advance payments of premium. The precise timing will depend on EC decisions as well as the speed with which our local offices can complete the various checks which have to take place before payments can be made. By adjusting priorities, we hope to complete the administrative arrangements in time to pay the majority of first advances under this year's scheme by no later than early autumn, with the second advance following in January 1991, and the balancing payment in the spring of 1991. The level of payments will be determined by the EC Commission in the light of forecasts of income loss.

We are sure that sheep producers will welcome this feature of the new sheepmeat regime, which will give them earlier benefit from the sheep annual premium.