To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assistance has been given to help farmers in the less-favoured areas; and if he will make a statement.
Farmers in the less-favoured areas benefit from the payment of hill livestock compensatory allowances and from higher rates of grant for investments under the farm and conservation grant scheme. They are also eligible for a wider range of grants than other farmers under the farm diversification grant scheme and for special aid to encourage co-operative forage production. All told, these extra payments amount to over £140 million a year for the United Kingdom. This is a considerable package of extra help over and above our general agricultural support policies which benefit hill farmers as well as other farmers.