HC Deb 20 March 1997 vol 292 cc727-8W
Mr. Jessel

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements are being made for financial support to the meat disposal chain in 1997–98. [21633]

Mr. Baldry

Support arrangements for the rendering industry in 1997–98 have now been finalised following consultation with interested parties. These implement the previously announced policy of making up to £59 million support available to the disposal chain as it adjusts to the changed value of animal by-products. They take the form of a non-statutory scheme, the rendering industry support scheme 1997. Copies of the scheme are being placed in the Library of the House.

The scheme provides for: Payments to individual rendering companies for the rendering of 'clean' material (i.e. excluding the products of the Over Thirty Month Scheme); Payments to be on a depressive basis phased out over the financial year and based on the actual amount of tallow produced and of meat and bone meal disposed of; Tallow and MBM to attract different support rates (relating to average past values), phased out over different time-scales in recognition of future values.

Individual rendering companies will be free to set charges and prices to their suppliers on the basis of commercial judgment, taking account of support. Support levels will be transparent to suppliers of animal by-products. The Office of Fair Trading will continue to keep the competitive situation within the market under review.

The scheme will be administered by the Intervention Board.

In order to inform Ministers' decisions on the design of these support arrangements, Coopers and Lybrand were commissioned to report on the prospects for recovery in the markets for renderers' products. Their report is being published and copies are being placed in the Library of the House.