§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the market value of sheep quota per unit is; what the value of the annual payment from public funds per unit was in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion of this total cost is met from UK public funds. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
Livestock Quotas were introduced in order to regulate production and expenditure under the Sheep Annual Premium Scheme (SAPS).
When the quota system was introduced, producers received an initial allocation based on the number of eligible sheep they received premium on in the 1991 reference year. The normal way in which producers may now acquire quota is by purchasing or leasing it on the open market. Transfer or lease of SAP quota may take place only during certain periods of the year—mid September to early February.
Values for sheep quota at the end of the 2003 trading period were as follows:
- GB Lowland—£1.30 per unit (permanent transfer)
- Leasing—£0.00 (quota was just given away)
- England Less Favoured Area (LFA)—£9 per unit (permanent transfer)
- Leasing—£1 per unit
Values at close of the 2002 trading period were as follows:
- GB Lowland—£2 per unit (permanent transfer)
- England LFA—£9 per unit (permanent transfer)
- Leasing—£1 per unit
Values for both years have remained very low due to Foot and Mouth Disease. When the 2004 quota trading period opens on 11 November, it is expected that values will continue to stay low. This is because sheep quota will no longer be needed due to the reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
The sheepmeat regime of the European Union plays a significant role in the maintenance of the income of sheep farmers in the United Kingdom. The principal support mechanism of the regime is the Annual Ewe Premium, known in the UK as the Sheep Annual Premium (SAP)
From 2002, the SAP became a single fixed rate payment paid on breeding ewes. The new rate has been set at €21 (approximately £13) per eligible animal. In 2002 (the last year for which figures are available), SAP was paid on 16,546,384 animals in the UK. This amounted to a UK total of approx €34747,406 (£21,393,299).
The costs paid in relation to the Sheep Annual Premium came from EU Commission funding only.