asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of those farms and crofts in Scotland which formerly qualified for hill farm subsidies or grants are now ineligible for allowances under the EEC "less favoured areas" directive.
As stated in the reply given to a similar Question from the hon. Member on 19th December last—[Vol. 902, c. 802.]—about 230 Scottish farmers and crofters who were previously eligible for hill livestock subsidies may not qualify for assistance under the regulations implementing the compensatory allowances provisions of the EEC less-favoured areas directive because they occupy less than three hectares of eligible land. The persons concerned are, however, eligible to apply for special payments of £40 for each of the years 1976 and 1977, and if they continue to maintain breeding cows they may claim beef cow subsidy at the rate of £11 per eligible animal.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, in view of the current situation whereby hill sheep farmers continue to be deprived of the maximum subsidy permitted under EEC regulations, if he will revise his decision not to increase hill ewe subsidy.
The 1976 payments of hill livestock compensatory allowances include an increase of 60p per eligible ewe as agreed at the 1975 annual review. With that addition, the hill sheep subsidy has been increased by more than 100 per cent. since the 1974 review. In addition, hill sheep farmers will benefit substantially from the higher guaranteed prices for sheep and wool which were announced last month.