§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cereal farmers in the United Kingdom last year received cash benefits in excess of £40,000 from the common agricultural policy; and what proportion received these benefits without growing anything.
§ Mr. Jack
The number of cereal farmers receiving cash benefits in excess of £40,000 from the common agricultural policy last year cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost.
The introduction of the arable area payment scheme was partly to compensate for cuts in support prices for cereals. Farmers claiming under the main arable area payments scheme for 1992–93 were required to set aside 15 per cent. of the area of their claim; the remaining 85 per cent. had to consist of eligible area crops. Therefore they could not receive benefits without growing anything. Under the voluntary five-year-set-aside scheme, there was no requirement to continue to grow arable crops to qualify for set-aside payments. Last year around 10 farmers who had set aside all their eligible arable land received payments in excess of £40,000.
§ Mr. Pawsey
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the extent to which the United Kingdom agricultural industry was disadvantaged by not applying for derogation on the moisture content in the 1993 cereal harvest.
§ Mr. Pawsey
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made as to(a) the moisture content of the cereals that the majority of cereal purchasers will buy and (b) whether the majority of cereal purchasers will pay a premium for cereals with a moisture content of less than 15 per cent.