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Milk Quotas

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 9 May 1985

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12.

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress he has made in achieving equality with other regions of the United Kingdom for small dairy farmers in respect of milk quotas.

My right hon. Friend has continuing contacts with his agricultural colleagues, but it is not yet possible to announce what relief can be given to small dairy farmers in Northern Ireland.

Following the announcement by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food earlier this week that small dairy farmers in England and Wales would be brought back to the 1983 levels of production and that hardship cases would be met in full, will he assure me and the House that small dairy farmers in Northern Ireland will receive the same treatment, to which they are entitled?

I know of the hon. Gentleman's anxiety and that of many other hon. Members about small dairy farmers in Northern Ireland. The outgoers scheme has not been taken up in Northern Ireland to the same extent as in the rest of the United Kingdom, and that has created a problem. However, we are planning an early meeting of the three territorial Secretaries of State with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food about that very problem.