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Agricultural Assistance

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate what percentage of agricultural assistance goes to (a) the largest and (b) the smallest 10 per cent. of farms in the United Kingdom. [131375]

Data from the Farm Business Survey have been used to assess the level of agricultural assistance going to farms of different sizes. The sample for the Farm Business Survey covers only those farm businesses that are over a minimum size threshold, representing around 70,000 out of a total of around 180,000 holdings in England. Within the sample there were 1,570 farm businesses in the survey in receipt of subsidy payments in 2001–02.Agricultural assistance has been defined as all crop and livestock subsidy payments and agri-environment scheme payments. Farm size is defined in European Size Units, an economic measure of farm size in terms of the value added to variable inputs. The analysis shows that around a third of these subsidy payments are received by the largest 10 per cent. of farms and around 2 per cent. is received by the smallest 10 per cent. of farms covered by the FBS in England. Estimates for the other UK countries are a matter for the Devolved Authorities.