asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether all payments for hill cow and breeding herd subsidy for 1975 have been made to the herd owners; and, if not, when he expects payments to be completed.
Approximately 98 per cent. of the 1975 hill cow claims and 94 per cent. of the beef cow breed- ing herd claims have been paid. Many of the outstanding claims are from new herd owners and cannot be cleared for payment until the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture is satisfied that the conditions of the scheme are being met. The remainder are affected by the regulations covering restocking after an outbreak of brucellosis and other factors which make it difficult to establish the number of animals qualifying for subsidy. The Department is endeavouring to clear all outstanding claims as quickly as possible.