22 May 1998
Farm ministers to cut the CAP
By Press Association
DR Jack Cunningham, agriculture minister, said next weeks meeting of EU farm ministers would allow initial conclusions to be reached on CAP reform as a sound basis for future agreement – probably early next year.
The Commissions proposals for substantial cuts in support prices would save British consumers about £1 billion a year, he said.
Opening the Commons agriculture debate, Dr Cunningham said: “They will encourage a more market-focused response from farmers and improve competitiveness on world markets.
“Farmers will receive compensation for the price cuts and will benefit from the effective ending of compulsory set-aside.”
But, he said, the proposals did not go far enough. Initial compensation costs were too high and not time-limited.
“The proposed dairy price cuts are insufficient to enable milk quotas eventually to be abolished. We will press hard for arrangements permitting a quota-free regime after 2006,” he said.
“In the meantime, I am not prepared to accept increases in milk quotas that discriminate against out efficient, competitive British dairy farmers as the proposals would do.”