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Farming: Competitiveness

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to improve the competitiveness of the farming industry. (247641)

Over the last 12 months, the rural development agencies have begun delivering a £300 million programme of investment in improving the competitiveness of farming and forestry under the Rural Development Programme for England. The Rural Payments Agency's continued progress in making payments under the single payment scheme has helped farmers' cash flow. Reducing trade distorting subsidies helps farmers better respond to the demands of the market; the recent common agricultural policy health check took another step by reducing coupled payments and regulatory burdens on farmers.