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Tobacco

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much EU financial support was available for growing tobacco in each of the last five years; how much such financial support was available in 2007; which countries have received this support; and if he will make a statement. (111991)

[holding answer 26 January 2007]: The information requested is set out as follows:

Cost of premia paid under the EU tobacco regime

€ million

2002

952

2003

956

2004

929

2005

916

2006

920

2007 (provisional)

317

The main beneficiaries of the European Union (EU) subsidy have been Greece and Italy. Other producing member states include Poland, France, Spain, Germany and Portugal.

The UK does not produce tobacco and has always been critical of the support regime because of the cost and health implications. We believe that subsidies are at odds with the Community-sponsored Europe Against Cancer programme.

The successful reform of the EU tobacco regime in 2004 introduced “decoupling”, which means that the direct link between production and support is broken. This applies progressively from 2006 until 2010 when direct support for tobacco production will cease altogether.