§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will provide financial assistance to small abattoirs; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 5 March 2001]: As announced in the Rural White Paper published on 28 November 2000, Agriculture Departments in England, Scotland and Wales have agreed to transfer £8.7 million to the Food Standards Agency for the three financial years 2001–02 to 2003–04; this will enable the Food Standards Agency to implement the principal recommendation of the Task Force chaired by Colin Maclean, to revise the method of charging for Meat Hygiene Service inspections in abattoirs and cutting plants. The Food Standards Agency has consulted the industry on its proposals. Implementation of the Maclean recommendation will significantly reduce inspection charges levied on many small and medium-sized meat plants and thus be of considerable benefit to the rural economy.