§ 18. Helen Jackson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to expand the countryside stewardship scheme. 
§ Mr. Morley
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Ribble (Mr. Borrow) on 13 January 2000,Official Report, column 239W.
I announced plans for a major expansion of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme on 7 December. Over the next seven years, spending on agri-environment schemes will double. Of the £1 billion to be allocated during this period to these schemes, £500 million will be for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The extra money will bring the total budget in 2000–01 to over £35 million, rising to £126 million in 2006–07. Initial predictions are that when this year's application round closes on 31 May, we shall be able to accept around 3,000 new agreements, more than double the number in 1999.