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Suckler Cow Premium Scheme

Volume 990: debated on Thursday 7 August 1980

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements are being made for the introduction of the suckler cow premium scheme in the United Kingdom.

The detailed rules of the new suckler cow premium scheme which was agreed by the European Com- munity Council of Ministers as part of this year's price-fixing have now been settled. It will be paid on suckler cows belonging to one of the recognised meat producing breeds or the offspring of a cross with one of those breeds and forming part of a herd which is used for rearing beef calves. For 1980 the rate has been fixed at £12·37 per cow held by the producer on the day the application is lodged.To be eligible, an applicant must show that at the date of application he is not selling milk or milk products from any of his production units and that farming is his main occupation. He must also undertake to sell no milk or milk products for 12 months from the date of application and to keep for a minimum of six months at least as many suckler cows as the number for which the premium is granted.Applications for 1980 must be received between 11 August and 31 October. In no circumstances will applications be accepted after the closing date. Payments in the United Kingdom are expected to cost £18·5 million in the current year. They will be wholly financed from Community funds. Parliamentary approval to this new service will be sought in supplementary estimates for the agricultural support Votes for the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and the Welsh Office. The regulation containing the necessary supplementary provisions, in particular for protection of payments, will be laid in due course.