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Sugar Beet Industry

Volume 517: debated on Thursday 4 November 2010

As my hon. Friend knows, supporting the farming sector is fundamental to my Department’s business. The sugar beet sector remains heavily regulated by the common agricultural policy, and it is expected that it will be considered during the forthcoming round of CAP reforms in response to the European Union budget review. The UK Government will seek an outcome where our sugar beet industry can thrive in a more competitive and sustainable environment.

The Minister will understand that the greater use of biofuels in this country will not only cut CO2 emissions, but give a vital boost to East Anglian sugar beet growers. British Sugar would like to know what the Government are doing to provide incentives to companies such as itself to invest in future biofuel production. Can the Minister tell us?

Incentives for biofuel production are primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, but I can assure my hon. Friend that we fully recognise the pioneering work that British Sugar has done at the Wissington factory in Norfolk, where it produces biofuels and uses the heat generated as a by-product to grow tomatoes in glasshouses. I can also assure him that we are determined to encourage and enable our sugar industry to contribute just as much to biofuels as to our sugar supply. However, in terms of the detail, he needs to address himself to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.