To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has any plans to extend the scope of the European Community surplus food scheme to all pensioners; and if he will make a statement.
We have no plans to extend the EC surplus food scheme beyond its present scope. European legislation requires that the food made available be distributed only to the most deprived citizens of the Community. Not all pensioners can be described as "deprived"; but those who fall into one of the categories of person eligible under this scheme may, of course, receive produce. To extend the distribution to include all pensioners would spread the limited amounts of food available so thinly as to be of little benefit to anyone.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many valid applications were received for each of the four categories of people who qualified for this year's European Community surplus food scheme; and what (a) quantity and (b) value of differing foodstuffs is being distributed into each of these categories.
Over 500 applications to participate in the 1990 EC surplus food scheme have been received from charitable and other non-profit-making organisations throughout the United Kingdom. These applications are currently being considered and I will make a statement once a decision has been reached. Approximately 3,800 tonnes of butter and 3,000 tonnes of beef are available for distribution this year. It is not possible to distinguish the amounts or value of produce by category as many of the organisations which have applied intend to distribute to more than one of the groups of people eligible under this scheme.