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Farming Industry

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effect on the various sectors of the UK farming industry of (i) the legislative burden and (ii) the exchange rate of continental European competitors; and if she will make a statement. [130206]

No specific research has been commissioned or evaluated by the Department which compares the total level of legislative burden on the farming industry in the UK with the rest of the European Union. However, as set out in the "Strategy for Sustainable Farming and Food" the Government are committed to better regulation. This means legislating only where necessary, doing so in a light touch way and deregulating and simplifying existing legislation wherever possible. While some regulation is unavoidable if the Government are to safeguard public and animal health, environmental matters or public funds, modern regulations must not only be effective and efficient, but must also deliver improvements in ways which minimise the burden of compliance on the industry.The euro-sterling exchange rate is an important determiner of UK farm incomes. A provisional assessment of the impact of the recent recovery in the euro and medium term prospects for UK farm incomes if this is sustained is published on the Defra website (http://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/reports/repfi.pdf).