Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Areas Scheme.

Michael Ring


415 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the steps he will take to ensure that farm incomes are protected for the 100,000 farmers in the disadvantaged areas, particularly in the changeover to the new system of disadvantaged areas payment; and if the Government will provide additional funding, if necessary, to protect these incomes. [20379/00]

The position is that some £360 million additional funding has been committed to the disadvantaged areas compensatory allowance scheme over the period 2001-2006. It is estimated that 109,000 farmers will qualify for payment under the new area based scheme. Total expenditure in 2001 will increase by some £60 million to £180 million. Some 81,000 farmers stand to gain under the new arrangements while about 28,000 will incur modest losses. I have, however, negotiated a compensation package for losers under which 90% of losses will be made good in 2001, 80% in 2002 and 50% in 2003. Under these arrangements the average loss in 2001 will be about £32 rising to £64 in 2002. I am also committed to reviewing the scheme in 2003.