asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to correct the anomaly whereby, after the transfer of sheep ownership, the former owner receives the sheep premium for many months after he has sold the sheep; and whether he will make a statement.
The qualifying date for sheep annual premium, payable on breeding ewes, is 1 January for the marketing year beginning the following April. It is necessary to fix an early qualifying date in order to establish eligibility for the advance of annual premium payable half-way through the marketing year and to calculate the size of that advance. Having established eligibility in respect of a particular owner we are bound to pay him the premiums due. If, however, the farm is sold before the payment falls due, it is open to the owner, if he wishes, to assign any payment to his successor.