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Common Agricultural Policy

Volume 692: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 16 April (WA 11), on what basis they maintain that the United Kingdom's contribution to common agricultural policy (CAP) spending cannot be identified, in light of the Answer by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 25 November 1999 (Official Report, col. 748) and the Written Answer by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 8 January 2001 (Official Report, col. 453W); and what are (a) the present annual cost of the CAP to (i) consumers, and (ii) taxpayers; and (b) total expenditure on United Kingdom agriculture by (i) the Government, and (ii) the European Union in the latest year for which figures are available. [HL3804]

The United Kingdom makes its contributions to the EC budget as a whole and not to individual spending programmes within it. There is not therefore a specific United Kingdom contribution to common agricultural policy spending. However, as has been done in the past, we can provide notional estimates.

We can estimate the UK consumer cost of the CAP by comparing the difference between UK and world prices for agricultural products and applying that difference to the volume of UK consumption. Our latest provisional estimate for 2005 is a consumer cost of approximately £3.5 billion. Based on information contained in EC amending budget No. 6/2006, the notional United Kingdom taxpayer contribution to common agricultural spending in 2006 is £4.2 billion.

Total expenditure on United Kingdom agriculture in 2006-07 from the EC budget was £2.9 billion, and can be divided into the following categories:

Market support—£366 million

Direct aids—£2.4 billion

Rural development—£163 million.

On top of that, approximately £763 million was spent on English agriculture by the Government.

Responsibility for domestic agricultural spending is a devolved matter and advice on such expenditure needs to be sought from each of the devolved Administrations.