HC Deb 30 November 2000 vol 357 cc878-9W
Mr. Breed

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the length of the IACS form filled in by farmers; and if he will make a statement. [140405]

Ms Quin

The report of the IACS and Inspections Red Tape Working Group found thatIn general the (IACS) forms and guidance notes (issued in other member states) are of a similar level of complexity … with the exception of the Republic of Ireland.

The Government have listened to industry concerns about the volume of red tape which farmers have to face, and we are taking steps to review the IACS forms and guidance, in the light of the Group's recommendations about the readability, familiarity and appearance of the IACS scheme literature, so as to achieve not only simpler English and clearer communication, but also a common format with other MAFF documentation. Consultation with industry during the drafting stages remains a key feature. From 2001, we plan to make it possible for all farmers submitting claims in England to complete and submit the IACS form electronically. These 'intelligent' forms will both save time for farmers, and also lessen the possibility of making inadvertent errors, since inconsistencies will be highlighted and totals calculated automatically.

Miss McIntosh

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he will take to speed up the payment of IACS to cereal growers; and if he will make a statement. [140882]

Ms Quin

Under the EU' s Arable Area Payments Scheme (AAPS) most payments to cereal growers in respect of this year's harvest are required to be made between 16 November 2000 and 31 January 2001. In England the Ministry's Regional Service Centres commenced payments on 16 November and estimate that over 70 per cent. of claims will have been cleared for payment in the first two weeks of processing. It is hoped that the exercise will be completed by the end of December.

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