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Hill Farming

Volume 974: debated on Thursday 29 November 1979

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the present provisions for the support of hill livestock producers.

On 22 November I announced the biggest ever increases in the hill livestock compensatory allowances for both cattle and sheep. I am glad that this announcement has been warmly welcomed by the representatives of farmers in our hill areas for they at least recognise it as a substantial demonstration of the importance that this Government attach to the hill areas.

I hate to bore the House by asking the same question twice during the same Question Time, but I live in hope of getting an answer. Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the increase in the compensatory allowances is enough to reverse the decline in hill farming?

I agree that when we took office we inherited a great decline in hill farming. Our proposed increase is exactly seven times that which our predecessors suggested was necessary.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his excellent advocacy on behalf of the hill farmer. Will he pay due regard to the necessity of getting better marketing for store stock to improve the lot of hill farmers?