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Milk: Quotas

Volume 474: debated on Monday 21 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made in his Department's discussions with the European Commission on the abolition of milk quotas. (198115)

Milk quotas will be abolished in 2015. Discussions with the European Commission about how best to ensure the “soft-landing” for the dairy sector ahead of the abolition of milk quotas are ongoing. We expect the Commission to publish their draft proposals at the end of May.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to encourage greater milk production in the UK in order to fulfil new quota allocations. (198116)

Milk quotas are a limit on production; a ceiling not a target. The Government have been pressing for their removal for some time as they encourage producers to produce to a quota rather than to meet market demand. In addition, they are an unnecessary cost and regulatory burden. We look forward to their abolition in 2015. Consequently, we have no plans to encourage greater milk production to fulfil the new quota ceilings. we believe producers should produce for the market.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of milk consumed in England was produced in England in the last 12 months; and whether he plans to increase levels of self-sufficiency. (198117)

The UK is largely self-sufficient in milk. Over 95 per cent. of the milk consumed in the UK is produced in the UK. Organic milk has occasionally been imported when demand outstripped supply and it made economic sense for companies to do so. In addition, a small amount of UHT milk is imported from abroad. We have no plans to increase levels of self-sufficiency.