§ 23. Mr. Bradshaw
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what recent measures he has taken to help livestock farmers in the south-west. 
§ Mr. Rooker
Government action to assist livestock farmers in the south-west and elsewhere in the UK is constrained by the rules of the CAP. Nevertheless, we have successfully lobbied the Commission to grant Private Storage Aid in the UK in both the pigmeat and sheepmeat sectors. In addition, following representation from the UK and others, the Commission agreed on two occasions, most recently on 15 October, to increase payments of export refunds on pigmeat.
With regard to the beef sector, we have agreed with other Member States that advance payments under the 1998 Beef Special Premium and Suckler Cow Premium Schemes will be increased from 60 per cent. to 80 per cent. This means bringing forward some £100 million of payments to the industry which would otherwise not have been available until the spring of next year.