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Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has had concerning the beef industry within Wales.

I have received a number of representations on a variety of issues concerning the beef industry, including BSE.

In his new capacity as agriculture Minister for Wales, has the right hon. Gentleman given consideration to the financial impact of BSE and the new European settlement on Welsh farmers? Does he agree that it is particularly unfortunate that they should be hit, since, by and large, they were not responsible for the outbreak of the disease? They certainly were not consulted on the negotiations in Brussels, and they have completely rejected the negotiated settlement.

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer two specific questions—[Interruption.]

In the event of a sustained and substantial fall in prices of cull cows, will the Secretary of State consider introducing some compensatory mechanism? In as much as there is a direct link between the specialist suckler herds and the dairy herds which are infected by BSE, how will he ensure that exports of the former are not affected by the ban on dairy cattle exports?

I welcome the opportunity to make it absolutely clear, not just to the people of Wales but to the people of the United Kingdom, that there is no risk to public health from eating British beef. I had hoped that the hon. Gentleman would also make that absolutely clear.

Intervention procedures are flexible and will meet the situation as and when it arises, as they have already done under the intervention arrangements.