§ Mr. Allen
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the production, distribution and transportation of the surplus EC food currently being distributed; the quantities and costs involved in the current year; and what his projections are for the changes and trends in the system next year and in subsequent years.
§ Mr. Jack
In 1994, the European Commission allocated 175 mecu—£136 million—to member states under the EC168W surplus food scheme which is fully financed by the Community. The United Kingdom received 29 mecu—£23 million—for the release from invervention stores of 6,840 tonnes of beef, its transportation to processors, processing into canned stewed steak and its distribution to designated organisations. Certain administrative costs of these organisations are also reimbursed. The transportation of the produce to organisations for distribution to about 1.6 million eligible recipients should be completed by the end of July. Copies of leaflets LP45 and LP46, which describe the scheme rules, are available in the Library of the House.
The European Commission is responsible for allocating funds to member states and for approving their plans for operating this scheme. It does so for one year in advance only. For 1995, the United Kingdom's current plan is to maintain the present arrangements, but I shall be making an announcement about this later in the year.