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Milk Quotas

Volume 80: debated on Tuesday 11 June 1985

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received from, and what discussions he is undertaking with, farming organisations on a central planning authority to control and regulate dairy quota allocations and transfers.

I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the arrangements which might apply if we are successful in Brussels in negotiating a system of leasing and/or sales of quota. Discussions are taking place with the Commission, the MMBs and the farming organisations as to how such schemes might operate. One opinion is that the MMBs might act as a central clearing house for offers and bids for quota but we are still at the formulative stage.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how many dairy quota hard cases he has had passed to him by hon. Members for review;(2) what conclusions he has reached following his study of dairy quota hard cases; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will list the number of dairy quota hard cases he has reviewed which fall into the following categories

(a)cases of farmers not appealing to the tribunals on time, (b)cases of farmers who felt that the tribunals did not give them a fair hearing, (c) cases of farmers who have changed farms and their quota has been assessed on their former farm of lower output, (d) cases of farmers who have changed farms and received no quotas at all, (e) cases of farmers who were due to come into milk production in 1985–86 and now have no quota at all, and (f) cases of farmers who held back on production because of uncertainty and were cut back from the actual base on 2 April rather than their planned farm and horticultural development scheme base.

I have received a considerable number of representations from hon. Members and others about individuals who have received no milk quota or a quota which is considered insufficient. In most cases the information provided is insufficiently detailed to enable them to be classified as requested by the hon. Member.

The amount of quota available for re-allocation is very small. I am considering, in consultation with the industry organisations, how best to distribute it. I expect to make an announcement soon.

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if it is still his view that dairy quotas should last only five years; and in what circumstances he would envisage asking for them to be maintained on a permanent basis.

There are no plans being envisaged within the Community for continuation of the dairy quota system after the five years originally proposed for it.