HC Deb 14 July 1992 vol 211 cc624-5W
Mrs. Lait

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has completed his consultation on the future of the Apple and Pear Research Council; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer

I am pleased to announce that, having consulted the council and representative organisations in England and Wales, I have decided that the Apple and Pear Research Council should continue with its present constitution and functions for a further five years.

Our consultations with the industry have clearly demonstrated that the Apple and Pear Research Council is held in high esteem by it and that it commands a high level of confidence from the levy paying growers. This unequivocal response from the industry ensures that the council will be in the strongest possible position to take forward the research and development role which is so vital to the industry's needs.

I have decided that when a suitable opportunity occurs one change should be made to the Apple and Pear Research Council Order 1989 which has been endorsed by the council and the industry's representative bodies. The maximum levy the council is empowered to collect will be increased from £25 to £30 per hectare of orchard area. Although the current levy rate is below the permitted maximum, I believe that it is sensible to allow for developments over the new life of the council.

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