HC Deb 10 January 2000 vol 342 cc99-100W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what financial assistance from the Government are available to British egg producers to market their products(a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in the rest of the EU; and if he will make a statement. [103303]

Ms Quin

My right hon. Friend announced in September a package of aid which included £1 million to help primary producers in England improve their marketing, levels of collaboration and competitiveness. This commitment was implemented through the launch on 11 October of the Agriculture Development Scheme 1999, a non-capital support measure open to all sectors of the agri-food industry, including egg producers.

By the deadline for applications of 30 November, 160 applications, seeking £8.1 million in grant, had been received, including several from the egg sector. In light of this level of interest my right hon. Friend announced on 13 December that the budget for the scheme would be doubled to £2 million, if the quality of the applications supported the increase. We aim to announce decisions over the award of grant early next February.

Egg producers will also have the opportunity to benefit from the allocation of more than £40 million over the next seven years to support better marketing and processing of agricultural products, under the EU Rural Development Regulation.