§ Mr. Mitchell
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will prepare proposals to place before the next meeting of the Council of Agricultural Ministers of the Community designed to permit the United Kingdom to adopt systems of support to farmers and their auxiliary services aimed at sustaining their income and economic security at levels approximating to their purchasing power in the financial year 1999–2000. 
§ Ms Quin
The Government recognise that this is a difficult time for farming, and have introduced a wide range of measures since 1997 investing around £1.35 billion in the industry. This is over and above regular support for UK farmers available under the CAP, totalling about £3 billion each year.
The CAP is clearly failing to deliver on its aim of ensuring a fair standard of living for the agricultural community. This is one of many factors underlying our commitment to secure a more economically rational CAP to enable the industry to react flexibly to consumer wishes without being constrained by the market-distorting nature of the current CAP.
We are working closely with like-minded member states to put pressure on the Council to reform the CAP on the basis of proposals from the EU Commission which we expect to issue next year.