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Farming Subsidies

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the total amount of subsidy received by the British farming industry was in each of the last three years; from which budgets this money comes; what steps she is taking to monitor these costs; and if she will make a statement. [116916](2) how much subsidy the British farming industry has received over the last three years for which figures are available; from which budgets this money came; what steps she is taking to monitor this spending; and if she will make a statement. [118114]

In each of the last three years, the UK farming industry received the following amounts:

(£ million)


Agriculture in the UK

The figures include direct payments and market support measures under the Common Agricultural Policy, payments for rural development, compensation for animal disease, and other national grants and subsidies. Payments for market support and certain payments for rural development will not all have been received directly by the farming industry.

In 2001–2002 cash based accounting was replaced by accrual accounting. This change means that it is not possible to compare directly the 2001–2002 figures with those for previous years. However, the substantial increase in 2001–2002 can mainly be attributed to the impact of the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in 2001.

The money comes either from the EC budget or directly from the UK Exchequer. The Government monitors EC costs in the Council, primarily through the annual budget process, during which the Commission's expenditure forecasts for the next year are thoroughly scrutinised. Our policy is to subject all areas of EC spending to rigorous analysis. This enables us to make better use of existing resources, and ensure that the Financial Perspective ceilings are respected. The UK and European parliaments are also involved in this process.

The Department monitors UK Exchequer costs in accordance with the procedures of resource accounting and budgeting. Expenditure on agriculture in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved authorities.