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Hill Farmers

Volume 116: debated on Monday 11 May 1987

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why he has not replied to the representations made to him on 9 March by the hon. Member for Copeland on behalf of hill farmers from Ennerdale and Wasdale; when he proposes to do so; and if he will make a statement.

When the hon. Member met me with members of the Cumbria branch of the NFU I suggested that since their concerns had not been considered by the headquarters of the NFU they should arrange for this to be done so that a single case could be put to me relating to England and Wales. The president of the NFU subsequently wrote to me on 23 April. However, I had already announced on 13 April that the compensation arrangements for marked sheep would be improved on the lines requested to provide for individual pen valuations and for sales of ewes with lambs at foot. I am currently considering the matters put to me by the president of the NFU. On these I have already concluded that a further element of compensation is justified in relation to the additional costs of handling sheep before they can be released from the restricted areas and I expect to make an early announcement.