asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received on the possibility of owner-occupiers being allowed to sell milk quotas; and if he will make a statement.
I have received a representation from the NFU in response to the "Mobility of Quotas" discussion paper (copies of which are available in the Library of the House) that occupiers of dairy farms, whether owner-occupiers or tenants, should be free to sell or buy quota. Other organisations in favour are the Milk Marketing Board, the Tenant Farmers' Association and the Farmers' Union of Wales. The Country Landowners' Association on the other hand is against tenants having the right to sell quota. At present quota can only be transferred with land. We are actively pursuing in Brussels the possibility of more flexible arrangements, but there has been opposition from the Commission (although following our pressure it has agreed to look at the possibilities) and from some other member states. I cannot predict the outcome at this stage.