HC Deb 18 June 1991 vol 193 cc136-7W
Mr. Ashby

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the one-year set-aside scheme recently agreed by the EC Council of Ministers.

Mr. Gummer

The scheme will be available to producers who set aside at least 15 per cent. of their 1991 arable area for 1991–92 and also reduce their cereals area by 15 per cent. in that period. Participants will receive a payment of £121.20 per hectare set-aside—£109.20 per hectare in the less-favoured areas—or £91.20 per hectare —£79.20 per hectare in the LFAs—where areas of more than 100 hectares and more than 75 per cent. of arable area are set aside. Those who sell grain between 1 July 1991 and 30 June 1992 and have co-responsibility levy deducted will be entitled to refund of this levy at the rate of £6.70½ p per tonne. Detailed rules are still being finalised.

Farmers setting land aside under this scheme will be required to plant a green cover. In other respects, land set aside will be subject to similar environmental conditions as the existing five year set-aside scheme.

Producers wishing to participate in the scheme will be required to register details of their arable cropping in the year 1990–91. Registration forms will be available from local divisional offices by the end of this month and those wishing to register in England and Wales should contact divisional offices for copies: in Scotland and Northern Ireland producers should contact their local area offices or county agricultural offices respectively where forms will be available. Registration forms must be completed and returned no later than 31 July. Registration will not commit producers to apply for the one-year scheme.

Producers who do not register will not be eligible for the one-year scheme.

Producers who register for the one-year scheme will be contacted by the agriculture Departments and given fuller details, including application forms, as soon as these are available.

Participants in the existing five-year scheme will receive partial refund of the co-responsibility levy paid between the dates mentioned above. This will be at the rate of £2.68 per tonne, the equivalent of 2 per cent. co-responsibility levy, subject to final agreement in Brussels on the method of calculation.

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