Common Agricultural Policy — 11 May 2000

[Relevant documents: European Union Document No. 9311/99, European Court of Auditors special report 2/99 on the effects of the CAP Reform in the cereals sector; the Seventh Report from the Agriculture Committee of Session 1998-99, Outcome of the CAP Reform Negotiations, HC 442, and the Government's response thereto, HC 825 of Session 1998-99.]

I beg to move,

That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 6629/00, a Commission proposal on the prices for agricultural products (2000-01); supports the Government's intention to negotiate an outcome which takes account of the interest of UK producers, consumers and tax-payers alike; and also takes note and approves of the action which the Government has taken in partnership with the industry to launch the new Action Plan for Farming to ensure that British agriculture is more sustainable, dynamic and diverse, and more consumer and market-orientated.

I beg to move, To leave out from "(2000-2001);" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

"deplores the failure of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food either to secure meaningful CAP reform on behalf of consumers, taxpayers, farmers and the environment, or to defend Britain's interests in other EU negotiations; condemns the false claims made about the value to farmers of the Action Plan for Farmers; notes the dramatic and continuing fall in agricultural employment and farm incomes; and calls on the Government to address with urgency the crisis in Britain's countryside."

we can only regret the failure of the Council of Ministers to face up to the need for radical reform of the CAP.

We ourselves are deeply dismayed that even the modest hopes of the Commission could not be brought into fruition. This does not augur well for future discussions on CAP reform which are made all the more inevitable by the failure of certain member states to address the realities of the pressures for liberalisation. This is a bad deal.

The Agenda 2000 agreement on CAP reform was very disappointing for the environment. The Commission's original proposals did not go far enough for the environment and the final agreement retreated significantly. The overall effect will be that wildlife will continue to be seriously damaged by the intensive farming practices that the CAP supports.

will help chart a way out of the current crisis.

we also have sympathy with the farmers who were led by the headline figure to expect extra money in their pocket, rather than a notional decrease in the amount that would be taken from them.

the Minister should take care not to give false hope to farmers whose first news of help packages is a limited media story.

£26 million falls far short of what the industry needs even to recover its debt position far less compensate for the ongoing c. 8p/kg cost disadvantage from BSE-related costs that our producers currently face . . . ?

seek from the Commission an increase in the maximum weight per animal on which compensation is payable

the Government's proposal is to lift the limit . . .--[ Official Report , 13 April 2000; Vol. 348, c. 491.]

I have on my desk draft letters waiting to go out to the major public authorities . . . urging them to source products of the highest welfare and animal hygiene standards . . .--[ Official Report , 1 July 1999; Vol. 334, c. 422.]

Government has a duty to ensure that the essential safeguards for the consumer, the taxpayer and the environment are in place. But we must regulate only where it is really necessary and make full use of market and voluntary measures to assist these objective.

The Government's policy on implementing EU obligations in relation to farming will be to avoid all "gold plating" of the legislation, its implementation and enforcement; to regulate in the least bureaucratic and burdensome way and to avoid implementing legislation ahead of specified EU deadlines . . . We will also negotiate in Brussels to secure measures that minimise regulatory burdens.

Primary responsibility for rural policy lies with my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister while the Cabinet Committee on Rural Affairs, which I chair, will play an important co-ordination role.--[ Official Report , 10 May 2000; Vol. 349, c. 432W.]

The current state of the agricultural industry is unsustainable in the longer term.

greater powers for the Welsh Assembly so it could find Welsh solutions to Welsh problems.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

to open urgent negotiations with other EU countries to bring about a change in the treaties so as to make country of origin labelling mandatory throughout the Community.

I called for such labelling for meat--plain and simple. However, what we get is yet another bureaucratic nightmare.

all beef sold in member states will have to be labelled by country of origin from September 1.

The new measures will also mean all beef sold will have to be labelled with the abattoir number and country of slaughter.

The label will also have to record the date of slaughter, the reference identification number of the animal and the category of animal--heifer, steer or bull.

Ministers also agreed from January 2002 . . . the beef label will have to include details of the place of birth and fattening of the animal along with its slaughter details.

an outcome which takes account of the interest of UK producers, consumers and tax-payers alike.

Remember that Prosperity can only be for the free, and that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it.

4.51 pm

based on competitive, multifunctional and sustainable agriculture throughout the EU.

highly diversified . . . and supports and safeguards our unique countryside and a stable environment.

what we are doing here today is a start. It will not end the painful restructuring of the industry that has seen so much real hardship. But it will offer solutions to problems; it will set out a vision; and it will answer some of the key concerns.

agriculture, the countryside's most visible and most typical activity, is facing major problems and that many sectors and people within it are facing real crisis.

If we do not get the directive changed, it will be disastrous for the poultry industry.

In dealing with those charges, we do not intend to put smaller operations--particularly those that specialise in high-quality product--out of business. My aim is that the study should be completed quickly, and I intend to take a close interest in its conclusions.--[ Official Report , 21 April 1999; Vol. 329, c. 993.]

I intend to have the whole issue re-examined by specialist advisers.--[ Official Report , 4 November 1998; Vol. 318, c. 952.]

Question put , That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 123, Noes 257.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 121 (+2 tell)076.9%
Lab256 (+2 tell) 0062.2%
LDem0 012.1%
UUP0 1011.1%
Total:256 122160.7%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

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no rebellions

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