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Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department will launch an independent assessment scheme for lambs under the Meat and Livestock Commission to ensure orderly marketing and an effective price reporting system.

The Meat and Livestock Commission currently undertakes extensive price reporting activities as part of its involvement in the administration of the sheep variable premium scheme. Under the reformed EC sheepmeat regime, this scheme will be phased out by the beginning of the 1993 marketing year at the latest. New price reporting arrangements will be introduced under the reformed regime, but the EC Commission is yet to come forward with specific proposals. It will be our objective to ensure that the new arrangements are effective.