HC Deb 01 February 2001 vol 362 cc294-6W
Paddy Ashdown

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his estimate is of the total financial support for(a) United Kingdom and (b) English agriculture (i) directly and (ii) indirectly in each year since 1990–91; and if he will make a statement. [145954]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 25 January 2001]: Agricultural producers receive financial support in two ways: from consumers, as a result of the maintenance of market prices for some commodities at levels above those obtaining on world markets; and from taxpayers, in the form of direct receipts from the Exchequer.

The value of producer support receipts from consumers can only be estimated and is dependent upon several assumptions, including the level of world prices which would have obtained in the absence of the CAP. An estimate by research analysis of the value of market support received by producers and direct producer receipts from the Exchequer for the year 1997–98 has been published in a Ministry report "Reducing Farm Subsidies; Economic Adjustment in Rural Areas", which can be found on the Ministry website.

Total support received by UK producers from both of these sources was estimated to be a little under £6 billion in that year. A copy of the relevant table is to be found at Table 2. Some information concerning support receipts by English producers is also given.

Exchequer expenditure on UK agriculture for the years 1990–91 to 1999–2000 is also given. Expenditure peaked in 1996–97 as a result of the MacSharry reforms of the CAP—which shifted the burden of support from consumers to taxpayers—and the measures put in place in respect of BSE. Not all of these expenditures will have benefited farmers directly: for example, some expenditures relating to the cost of storing surplus produce are not a direct receipt by producers. Corresponding figures are not available in England.

£ million
Beef Sheep Dairy Poultry3
Livestock Total of which price support Total of which Price support Price support Price support Grand total Price support as a percentage of total support
England2 625 150 215 85 1,070 165 3,625 53
Wales 138 34 148 44 153 16 473 52
Scotland 249 56 124 40 125 22 715 40
Northern Ireland 223 55 40 13 154 20 453 53
United Kingdom 1,240 295 525 180 1,505 220 5,270 53
Percentage price support 24 35
Value of output, 1997 2,269 1,199 3,160 1,482 18,094
Percentage of 1997 UK output 55 44 47 15 29
Total UK CAP commodity support (£ billion) 5.27
Other national and structural spending (£ billion) 0.61
Total support received by UK farmers (£ billion) 5.88
As a proportion of gross output (percentage) 32
1Price support estimated by multiplying production volumes by the estimated UK-world price gaps.
2English and UK figures rounded to the nearest £5 million. Figures may not add up due to rounding.
3Price support for other intensive livestock, net of excess feed costs arising from cereals market support, is assumed to equal zero.


1. Direct payments include: AAPS; for beef—BSPS, SCPS, OTMS and de-seasonalisation premium (NI only), but excluding BSE-emergency measures paid in 1997; for sheep—SAPS; plus HLCAs for beef and sheep (worth £0.1 billion). Other national and structural funding is not included in the detailed figures.

2. Ornamentals and potatoes are assumed to receive no direct or market support.


MAFF, Economic and Statistics Group, August 1999

Table 1: UK public expenditure under the CAP and on national grants and subsidies
Year (April-March) £ million
1990–91 1,910
1991–92 1,977
1992–93 2,028
1993–94 2,905
1994–95 2,512
1995–96 2,897
1996–97 4,318
1997–98 3,583
1998–99 3,482
1999–20001 3,172


Agriculture in the United Kingdom

Mr. Drew

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish details of recipients of agricultural support in excess of £500,000 per annum. [147543]

Ms Quin

[holding answer 26 January 2001]: The Code of Practice on Access to Government Information defines the categories of information which are exempt from the commitments to provide information. Part II indent 12 (Privacy of an Individual) exempts disclosure to a third party of personal information which could facilitate a unwarranted invasion of privacy.

Additionally, Article 9 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 3508/92 of 27 November 1992 establishing an integrated administration and control system for certain Community aid schemes, states that member states shall take the measures necessary to ensure protection of the data collected".

This is reinforced by indent 15 (Statutory and other restrictions) of the Code of Practice which indicates exemption where such cases are prohibited under European Community law.

It is therefore not appropriate to publish such details of recipients of agricultural support for reasons of confidentiality.