HC Deb 22 April 1998 vol 310 cc664-5W
Mr. Dafis

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is his timescale for the introduction of an early retirement scheme for farmers; [37954]

(2) what plans he has to link the proposed early retirement scheme for farmers with measures to assist young people to enter the industry. [37953]

Mr. Morley

Responses to the consultation document issued on the principle of whether or not to introduce an early retirement scheme or other measures have been requested by 30 April. If the Government decide, in the light of these responses, to introduce such a scheme prior approval must be sought from the European Commission. The Commission could take up to six months to grant such approval. Any scheme is therefore unlikely to be introduced before the end of 1998.

The Government will consider carefully any representations that an early retirement scheme should be linked to measures to assist young people to enter farming.