§ Mr. Cameron
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations her Department has received about plans to use the period 2000–03 as the reference point for subsidy payments to farmers; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
There has been general support from consultees for the proposed 2000–02 single payment scheme reference period, including the special provisions for farmers affected by force majeure or exceptional circumstances. However, there have been a292W number of representations seeking additional flexibility to ensure farmers are not disadvantaged by, for example, changing the nature of their business or acquiring land during or after the reference period. In the on-going CAP reform negotiations, we continue to explore with the European Commission and others the best means to protect the interests of such farmers.