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Rural Payments Agency

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of systems for paying farm subsidies to farmers in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) European Union states and (d) England. (71541)

Such assessments are rarely productive as the systems and processes adopted by each paying agency in the UK and across the EU will have been tailored to the specific circumstances of the territory that it serves.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department’s legal bills have been (a) in each year since 2001 and (b) in relation to the Rural Payments Agency; and if he will make a statement. (74072)

Legal costs incurred by this Department and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) over the past five financial years are as follows:

DEFRA

£ million

2001-02

6.31

2002-03

9.07

2003-04

11

2004-05

10.58

2005-06

11.80

Rural Payments Agency

£000

2001-02

704

2002-03

370

2003-04

430

2004-05

288

2005-06

315

Both sets of figures relate to running costs. However, the DEFRA figures also include payments to counsel, legal contractors and costs relating to claims and arbitration in respect of foot and mouth disease (FMD) cases that were directly attributed to the Department’s Legal Directorate. Other FMD legal related costs and costs in respect of commercial contracts, estates, etc. are held elsewhere in the Department and it would not be possible to draw this information together without incurring disproportionate cost.