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Integrated Administration And Control Scheme

Volume 228: debated on Thursday 8 July 1993

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3.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much subsidy has been distributed to farmers following the implementation of the IACS scheme.

Payments under schemes covered by IACS forms are expected to amount to £1·2 billion for British farmers this year.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for her interesting answer. Does she accept that farmers have encountered considerable difficulty in filling in the IACS forms and considerable cost in obtaining maps from the Ordnance Survey? Will she confirm that next year's procedures will be considerably easier to follow than this year's? Will she also acknowledge the debt that we owe the National Farmers Union, which has consistently helped farmers to fill in their forms?

I agree that the NFU has played an important part in giving advice to farmers who had difficulty completing their IACS forms. The NFU has also praised the effort of MAFF staff in area offices who have performed an equally useful and helpful role. There was a problem with maps. In cases where people genuinely could not obtain the relevant maps, the IACS forms were acceptable without them.

I entirely accept my hon. Friend's point about next year's forms. By then, we shall, of course, have established a database, but we are asking the industry to suggest ways in which the forms can be made more user-friendly and entirely sensible for next year.