§ 18. Sir Teddy Taylor
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate the EU Commission has published about CAP spending in 1996; and what is the legal limit of such spending. 
§ Mr. Baldry
The 1996 draft budget for common agricultural policy expenditure has been set at the level of the guideline of 40,828 million ecu or £34,069 million. This is the legally binding ceiling on CAP expenditure.
§ 19. Mr. Callaghan
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cases of CAP fraud were recorded in the EU in 1994. 
§ Mr. Baldry
In 1994, there were 1,610 cases, valued at £313 million, of CAP irregularities, which include fraud, reported across the Community.
§ 24. Mr. Llew Smith
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what will be the total cost of the CAP in 1996. 
§ Mr. Baldry
The 1996 draft budget for the common agricultural policy has been set at the level of the guideline of 40,828 million ecu, £34,069 million. The CAP also imposes a cost on consumers but the scale of this cannot be assessed in advance.
§ Mr. Couchman
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the average change in the price of foodstuffs arising from the common agricultural policy. 
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
Recent reports that the prices of milk, sugar and beef are more than doubled by the common agricultural policy are exaggerated and misleading. They appear to be based on an inaccurate462W understanding of the OECD's consumer subsidy equivalent. This is a measure of the subsidy element in farm gate prices and relates to the degree to which farm gate prices exceed reference or "world" prices. The recently published estimates wrongly apply the CSE percentage for various commodities to retail prices instead of to farm gate prices. Because the farm gate price is only a fraction of the retail price, the effect of the CAP on the latter is necessarily considerably lower. This would be smaller still if it were possible to take account in calculating CSEs of the fact that world prices would be higher in the absence of the CAP.
We have placed in the Library a note demonstrating that overall costs of the CAP to United Kingdom citizens in 1993 were about £4 per person per week, of which about £3 is due to higher food prices. Even this estimate is likely to be on the high side because the effects of the CAP on world prices have not been taken into account. However the cost of the CAP, and its effect on food prices, is one of the reasons why the Government are pressing for its reform.