asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what new proposals he has to assist the beef producing sector of agriculture.
The reforms in the Community beef regime that were agreed under the United Kingdom presidency began to apply from 6 April. Under these, the Commission has scope to propose measures to deal with particular developments in the market. I will be ready to press the Commission to ensure that the United Kingdom market is supported if any undue weakness emerges. Meanwhile, producers continue to benefit from the beef variable premium scheme, worth about £120 million in 1986–87, and suckler cow premium scheme, worth about £28 million. Upland beef producers also benefit from hill livestock compensatory allowances worth around £50 million this year.
asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the prospects for the beef industry.
The reforms of the beef regime agreed in December came into effect on 6 April. Reliance on intervention is generally being reduced but the Commission has the scope to institute extra support measures if the market is unduly weak. Meanwhile, the beef variable premium scheme has been secured until 31 December 1988. There is scope to increase the suckler cow premium by 35 per cent. to over £33 per head. Upland beef producers will also benefit from hill livestock compensatory allowances. In addition, the Community has recognised that beef producers will be affected by measures taken in the milk sector. The Commission has estimated that expenditure on aids for private storage and export refunds in the beef sector will as a result rise by 435 mecu over the next two years.