§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance he will be giving to Staffordshire farmers for the transportation of cattle to slaughterhouses outside the county. 
§ Mr. Rooker
Following a competitive tender, 26 abattoirs in Great Britain have been contracted by the Intervention Board to slaughter cattle under the Over Thirty Month Scheme. Selection was made on the basis of criteria which included quality and volume of service, suitability of premises, price and geographical location to ensure reasonable access for producers. Proportionally greater capacity has been provided to the traditional dairy areas, including the North West of England, and the number of liveweight markets acting as collection centres for entry to the scheme has not changed.
Inevitably, with the number of abattoirs being reduced from about 50 to 26 to reflect the much lower throughputs in the scheme, some producers will have to travel greater distances. But those in Staffordshire are relatively well served under the new arrangements, despite there being no scheme abattoirs in the county. In fact, distances for them will be less than those for a great many producers elsewhere in the country.