Mr. Andy Stewart
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about grants for effluent disposal under the agriculture improvement scheme.
§ Mr. Jopling
Because of excessive expenditure on these grants, which has arisen particularly in Northern Ireland, I have decided, in agreement with the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, for Scotland and for Wales, to introduce a payment limitation system in Northern Ireland under which, until further notice, grants will only be paid there on effluent disposal investments to which farmers have already committed themselves by midnight tonight. In addition, the facility under which claims for grant on effluent disposal can be made on a standard cost basis under the Agricultural Improvement Scheme 1985 and the Agriculture Improvement Regulations 1985 is being withdrawn from midnight tonight throughout the United Kingdom.
This action will not affect the rate of grant available for eligible effluent disposal investments, which will remain at the level of 60 per cent. in the less-favoured areas and 30 per cent. elsewhere.