HC Deb 27 February 1978 vol 945 c16W
Mr. Clemitson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements he is making to meet the cost of assistance by the Armed Services to agriculture in the South-West and Wales following the recent severe weather.

Mr. John Silkin

In the exceptional circumstances, my Ministry will meet the appropriate part of the cost in cases where assistance is justified and is sponsored by my officials on the spot. Parliamentary approval for this expenditure will be sought by means of a Supplementary Estimate in due course. In the meantime, any necessary expenditure will be met by drawings on the Contingencies Fund. The expenditure will be contained within planned control totals and will rest on the authority of the Estimate and the confirming Appropriation Act.

Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether, in view of the loss of production to farmers and the nation resulting from the recent weather conditions in the South-West of England, he will, as soon as the extent of the damage is known, make some compensation available to assist farming production to restart again.

Mr. John Silkin

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Environment made clear on 23rd February —[Vol. 944, c. 1708–24]—it is too early to assess fully the damage to farming in the South-West, but my officials have been asked to do so as a matter of urgency. I am considering the implications as more information becomes available.