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Dairy Farming: Government Assistance

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on assistance to farmers who lost money owing to the failure of Dairy Farmers of Great Britain. (281923)

[holding answer 23 June 2009]: DEFRA Ministers hold regular discussions with HMT Ministers on a range of topics.

There are publicly-funded schemes available through Business Link to assist small businesses (such as farms) when they become affected by the economic downturn, or when they find their ability to get credit is affected in situations such as this. There is also the HMRC Business Payment Support Service, which may enable affected farmers to defer certain tax and national insurance payments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support his Department has given to dairy farmers in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (281983)

Eligible dairy farmers receive support under a range of Common Agriculture Policy measures, including the Single Payment Scheme (SPS). The continued progress of the Rural Payments Agency in making more timely SPS payments has helped farmers' cash flow with around £1.6 billion (98 per cent.) paid to date under the 2008 scheme.

The Regional Development Agencies deliver a £300 million programme of investment in improving the competitiveness of farming and forestry under the 2007-13 Rural Development Programme for England, of which at least £107 million is being targeted at the livestock sector to help it meet the particular challenges that it faces.