§ Mr. Maclean
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is(a) the total level of borrowing of British farmers and (b) the average level of borrowing per farm in the United Kingdom. 
§ Mr. Rooker
[holding answer 2 November 1998]: Information on the liabilities of UK agriculture is published in "Agriculture in the United Kingdom". The estimate of total liabilities at December 1996 was £9 billion. This represents about £69,000 per full time holding compared to average assets per holding of £570,000. Lending by banks to agriculture and fishing has, according to the Bank of England, increased by about 12 per cent. between the fourth quarter of 1996 and the second quarter of 1998.