HC Deb 09 March 1993 vol 220 cc548-9W
Mr. Elletson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the incomes of livestock farmers in the severely disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland.

Mr. Curry

Statistics of incomes of hill farmers in Northern Ireland are collected in the farm business survey which has been carried out for over 50 years. The methodology is well established and the results are published each year in "Farm Incomes in the United Kingdom".

Net farm income is a measure of income available to the farmer and spouse for their manual and managerial labour and return on tenant type capital. Net farm income recorded by the survey of livestock farms in the severely disadvantaged areas of Northern Ireland was £4,000 in 1990–91 and £4,400 in 1991–92. Forecasts made for the autumn review and agreed with the farming unions indicate that this will increase to £6,800 in 1992–93.

In addition to incomes from farming many farmers will have income from other sources.

Cash income, which is the difference between receipts and expenditure, may give a better measure of the actual net income available to farmers in any year. This will generally be higher than net farm income as it does not include as costs such items as depreciation, notional payments for unpaid labour and, in the case of owner-occupied land, a notional rental value. Cash income for livestock farms in the SDA in Northern Ireland is estimated as £10,400 in 1990–91, £9,700 in 1991–92 and is forecast to rise to £12,300 in 1992–93. These statistics of farm income are available in the Library of the House.