asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support small-scale agricultural producers.
[pursuant to his reply, 8 May 1987, c. 565] The Government's agricultural policy generally takes account of the range of agricultural activity in the United Kingdom and of the variety of farm size and structure. However, measures introduced by the Government of particular benefit to smaller scale producers include:
- the extension of the less favoured areas in 1984;
- the introduction of, and the recent doubling of resources for environmentally sensitive areas;
- new opportunities for diversification with grant available for ancillary businesses on or adjacent to farms;
- arrangements to restore the milk quota received by producers with less than 200,000 litres of quota to their pre-quota level;
- making direct compensation payments in 1984–85 and 1985–86 to alleviate the effect of the milk co-responsibility levy on small-scale producers;
- obtaining over £3·3 million of EC aid to offset the effect of the cereals co-responsibility levy on small producers;
- reform of capital transfer tax to abolish the tax on capital gifts made between individuals during their lifetime;
- introduction of the agricultural improvement scheme which gives particular benefit to smaller farmers who draw up improvement plans, and provides for a 25 per cent. supplement on capital grants available under the scheme to many young new entrants to farming.