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John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many staff from employment agencies were employed by (a) her Department and (b) each agency of the Department (i)at the end of April and (ii) in each six month period since April 2002. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 25 May 2005]: The information requested on Defra's agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The information requested for Core Defra is being collected and I will make the information available to my hon. Friend by 9 June 2005.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many timesduring the (a) Italian, (b) Irish and (c) Dutch presidencies of the EU the (i) Committee on certificates of specific character for agricultural products and
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foodstuffs, (ii) Committee on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs, (iii) Management Committees of the common organisation of agricultural markets for cereals and (iv) Management Committees of the common organisation of agricultural markets for dehydrated fodder met; when and where these meetings took place; what UK Government expert was present; and if she will make a statement. 
(i) The Regulatory Committee on Certificates of Specific Character met three times in the period: on 20 January 2004; 24 February 2004; and 22 November 2004. All meetings took place in Brussels. Two UK officials with policy responsibility for regional foods attended each meeting.
Meetings were attended by officials from Defra's Organic Farming Branch. A wide variety of issues were discussed, in particular, seeds for use in organic farming, additives permitted in organic food, imports to the EU from third countries, the use of conventional ingredients in feed for organic livestock, conversion of livestock for organic production and the proposed EU Organic Action Plan.
(iii) The Cereals Management Committee normally meets on a weekly basis in Brussels. The dates of meetings held during the Italian, Irish and Dutch presidencies and the items discussed can be viewed at the following internet address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/minco/manco/cereals/index.htm#top
(iv) The Dried Fodder Management Committee last met on 17 June 2004 in Brussels and was attended by officials from Defra. A summary of the items discussed can be viewed at the following internet address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/minco/manco/feed/index.htm
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about the effects and desirability of ear tags on cattle and cattle passports following reforms to the single farm payment arrangements. 
The legal requirements of cattle keepers regarding the identification and registration of bovine animals, which includes ear tags and cattle passports, remain unchanged under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS).
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Under the SPS farmers will receive payments in respect of the area of land they seek to establish and activate entitlements provided they observe the rules of Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition and Cross Compliance.
Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of farmers who will receive (a) more and (b) less funding through the redistribution of the dairy premium to be made under the Single Farm Payment Scheme; and if she will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: A detailed analysis of how English dairy farmers stand to benefit or lose out relative to historic entitlements is provided in the document; CAP Single Payment Scheme, Basis for Allocation of Entitlement, Impact of the Scheme to be Adopted in England, which is available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/capreform/background/pdf/webnoterev16.pdf
Data on the numbers of farmers who receive higher or lower subsidy payments will not be known until all of the claims for Single Payment have been scrutinised by the Rural Payments Agency. Only then will we know what areas of land and what entitlements have been claimed.
By the end of the transitional period some sectors will have gained or lost against historical subsidy receipts. Generally speaking, flat rate payments redistribute subsidy from more intensive to less intensive producers and to land not formerly in receipt of subsidy. On average larger dairy farms will receive lower payments under this system than under one based on historic receipts (although, by contrast, smaller farms will on average be better off). However, we believe that the eight-year transition to the flat rate payment should give farmers time to adjust.
All payments to dairy farmers in the UK, as for other recipients of the Single Payment, will be decoupled from production, and therefore are no longer linked to particular farming activity. In a decoupled subsidy environment, farmers should only produce milk if they can do so profitably.
The following figures show the number of farmers, partners, directors and spouses (if working on the holding) on holdings in England between 1980 and 2004. Until 1986 the figures account for all holdings. From 1987 they relate to economically active holdings defined as having a standard gross margin of greater than zero.
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|Farmers, partners, directors and spouses|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been given in total by the Government, excluding funding from EU sources, in direct aid to the farming industry in each year since 1980. 
Jim Knight: The total direct payments paid to the UK farming industry are in the following list. Most expenditure under the CAP and some expenditure on other schemes is made by the UK Government and subsequently reimbursed by the EU. Figures excluding EU funding are not readily available.
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