§ Mr. Stodart
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the administrative difficulties of giving an option to C grade farmers under the Winter Keep (Scotland) Scheme of being paid on headage instead of on acreage.
§ Mr. Ross
The introduction of an option to C grade farms would create an unstable situation. Although the C grade is particularly identified with hill sheep farms, an option would need to apply to both hill cattle and hill sheep. There would accordingly be a case for offering it to A and B farms as well. This in turn would suggest that the option would need to be extended to other parts of the United Kingdom, with the consequence of a significant increase in total expenditure under the relevant Schemes. In addition, an option would introduce an element of uncertainty in estimating expenditure under the Schemes, more particularly if farmers were permitted periodically to exercise a fresh choice.