§ Lord Kingsland
asked Her Majesty's Government:
If they have received Coopers & Lybrand's second report on the United Kingdom beef industry.
Copies of Coopers & Lybrand's second report on the UK beef industry have been placed in the Library. The report examines the problem of unsaleable stocks in the beef chain, against the background of my noble friend Lord Lindsay's statement on 16th April (Official Report, col. 597), when he said that the Government did not consider that financial assistance equivalent to that being made available to the slaughtering and cutting sectors should be paid to other sectors.
Coopers & Lybrand note that many parts of the UK beef industry are entering a period in which realignment and downsizing will take place, but state that they could not suggest any public interest argument to justify government financial intervention at this stage. As foreshadowed in my noble friend Lord Lindsay's statement of 16th April, the Government will introduce a scheme to support the disposal and, where necessary, the storage of unsaleable beef and beef products held in the supply chain outside the slaughtering sector. This aims to help rebuild market confidence and ensure that appropriate disposal methods are used in the interests of the environment and public health. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will shortly issue a consultation document asking for expressions of interest in the scheme. It will be entirely voluntary and no payments will be made to companies for ownership of the stocks.