Written Answers. - Cattle and Sheep Headage Payments.

294.

asked the Minister for Agriculture the present rate of cattle headage and sheep headage payments; the maximum payment in each case; the maximum payment when cattle and sheep payments are combined; the number of farmers affected when payments are combined; and when the rates will be increased.

The information requested is as follows:—

Cattle Headage Payments in Severely Handicapped Areas—For each of first 8 livestock units, —£32; For each livestock unit from 9 to 30, —£28; Maximum payment, —£872.

Beef Cow Scheme in Less Disadvantaged Areas—For each of the first 10 beef cows, — £32; For each beef cow from 11 to 28, — £28; Maximum payment, —£824.

Sheep Headage Payments Scheme in Designated Areas—For each of the first 150 ewes* — £9.50; For each ewe* from 151 to 200 — £6.50; Maximum payment —£1,750.

*Confined to hogget ewes only in lowland areas.

Maximum Payment when Cattle and Sheep Payments are combined £1,750 (combined payments are limited to 30 livestock units and sheep are given priority in payment).

Number of Farmers affected when Payments are combined

Slightly less then 1,700 farmers out of the total of 94,000 benefiting from the headage payments will be affected by the combining of payments to such an extent that they will receive less for 1981 than they received for 1980. On the other hand, sheep producers generally are benefiting very significantly from the substantial increase which I made in the sheep headage rate. To give an example, a farmer with 110 ewes and 12 adult cattle will receive £1,413 under the 1981 schemes compared to £918 for 1980 and to £1,083 under the 1981 headage rates announced by the previous Government.

When the Rates of Payment will be increased

Details of the 1982 headage schemes (including rates of payment) will be announced as soon as possible. The first announcement of the details of the 1981 schemes was made on 5 June 1981.