Committee looks forward to visit from Minister

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 01 June 2007

Reference: AGR 04/07

Michelle Gildernew MP, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, has accepted an invitation to speak to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on Tuesday, 5 June 2007. The meeting starts at 2.00pm.

Within the farming community, there is particular concern at the new levels of voluntary modulation, which the Minister is due to announce by 12th June 2007. Farming income from Europe is paid through the Single Payment Scheme and this has already been reduced by a compulsory reduction of 5%, which is to be invested in rural development. A further voluntary reduction of 4.5% is currently in place in Northern Ireland and this is to be reviewed by the Minister. English and Scottish Ministers have announced levels of reduction well above this for the coming years but the Committee has written to the Minister stating that it sees no need to raise the level above 4.5% and has urged her to seek out alternative sources of funding.

Dr William McCrea MP, Committee Chairperson said:

“The Committee will certainly take the opportunity to question the Minister on a wide range of issues. We have already declared that this Committee will be a strong voice for those in the rural, farming and fishing communities who have seen incomes decrease dramatically over the past years and we look forward to putting their fears and concerns to the Minister.”

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