Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2005-06

15 December 2005


New inquiry announced:

The UK Government’s “Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy”

On 2 December 2005, HM Treasury and Defra launched their joint paper, ‘A Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy’.  This report is intended to stimulate debate by describing where the UK Government is aiming to get to, in terms of European agricultural policy reform, in 10 to 15 years’ time.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has been interested for some time in what the Government means by further reform of the CAP. Therefore, the Committee has decided to examine the Government’s proposals, in order to explore the ‘vision’ in detail and test the validity of the assumptions underlying its conclusions. The Committee invites written evidence on the following topics:

Expenditure on “Pillar 1” of the CAP

The Government’s vision questions the justification for existing expenditure in Pillar 1 of the CAP (market support and direct payments) and recommends phasing out all support by 2020. The EFRA Committee is interested in the likely impact of these proposals, with specific reference to:

•food security - does the Government remain committed to UK food production?

•potential distortions and inequality of treatment of farmers across the EU

•possible environmental consequences of the proposals

•the extent to which the proposed changes to the CAP would result in lower food prices and (through reduced public spending on the CAP) a lower level of taxation

•how such a revised CAP would enable the EU’s farmers to be more competitive

•how the proposals would differently affect the tenanted and non-tenanted sectors across the EU

•the implications of the proposals for the applicant countries to the EU.

The rural economy

The Committee is interested in how the UK’s rural economy would fare under the changes proposed in the report.

International issues

The Committee is interested in the report’s assessment of the impact of CAP reform on developing countries, and its conclusions about the erosion of trade preferences and the potential benefits of a liberalised agricultural market in the EU and other OECD countries. The Committee is also interested in the effect the proposals would be likely to have on the global economy more widely.

The wider debate on future financing of the CAP

The EFRA Committee is interested in how the reforms proposed in the report could be achieved in practice, and how these changes relate to the ongoing debate surrounding the future financing of the CAP. What barriers might be put in the way of implementing such reforms by other EU member states?

The Committee invites all interested parties to address these matters in writing. It would be most helpful for the Committee if submissions were received by Friday 27 January 2006. More information about the required format of submissions is given overleaf.

*NB The deadline for submissions has been extended to 24 February 2006. (See 12 January 2006 press notice for details).

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 NOTES FOR SUBMITTERS

Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to [email protected] The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and certainly no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary, ideally no more than one page long.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Jonathan Little, Agriculture Specialist, on 020 7219 3279.

Information about the Committee can be found at: http://www.parliament.uk/efracom

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