HL Deb 13 January 1999 vol 596 cc77-8WA
Baroness Jeger

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What contribution is being made by United Kingdom taxpayers to subsidise the growing of tobacco by European Union member states; and why. [HL318]

Lord Donoughue

In 1997, the EU spent 998 million ecu (£698 million, using an exchange rate of £1 = 1.4308 ecu) on subsidies under the EU tobacco regime.

Member states contribute to the EU budget as a whole and not to any particular part. Our contribution is about 17 per cent. before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account.

The Government strongly disapprove of the tobacco regime, which exists as part of the common agricultural policy. We believe that the Community should progressively disengage from support for tobacco production on grounds of health and cost. We continue to press for further progress in this area following the reform of the regime agreed in June of this year.