First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.


Thursday 13 June 1991


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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse

Beaumont-Dark, Mr. Anthony (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

Boswell, Mr. Tim (Daventry)

Bradley, Mr. Keith (Manchester, Withington)

Coombs, Mr. Anthony (Wyre Forest)

Curry, Mr. David (Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Howell, Mr. Ralph (Norfolk, North)

Jones, Mr. Martyn (Clwyd, South-West)

Livsey, Mr. Richard (Brecon and Radnor)

Macdonald, Mr. Calum (Western Isles)

Martlew, Mr. Eric (Carlisle)

Morley, Mr. Elliot (Glanford and Scunthorpe)

Nicholson, Emma (Torridge and Devon, West)

Pike, Mr. Peter L. (Burnley)

Porter, Mr. Barry (Wirral, South)

Powell, Mr. William (Corby)

Steen, Mr. Anthony (South Hams)

Stewart, Mr. Andy (Sherwood)

Tapsell, Sir Peter (East Lindsey)

Turner, Mr. Dennis (Wolverhampton, South-East)

Walker, Mr. N. P. Committee Clerk

3 First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Thursday 13 June 1991


Home-Grown Cereals Authority Levy (Variation) Scheme (Approval) Order 1991

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. David Curry): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the Home-Grown Cereals Authority Levy (Variation) Scheme (Approval) Order 1991. The order before us has one simple purpose. It divides the levy paid by processors into two so that a smaller levy is paid by the animal feed processors and the Poultry Federation than is paid by the other processors in the sector. The former group felt that they were not getting value for money from their levy when there was a single levy rate. It is being done with the agreement of the industry. There are, in addition, a couple of small technical changes to the levy scheme to fulfil an undertaking given to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments when it considered a previous variation of the scheme—the introduction of the HGCA oil seeds levy scheme last year. One change deletes a reference to the recovery of unpaid levies summarily in magistrates courts, leaving such debts to be recovered through the usual procedures in the civil courts.

Mr. Anthony Steen (South Hams): Will my hon. Friend confirm two things as this is all far too technical at this time in the morning? Will the order have a detrimental effect on the cereal growers in south Devon? Secondly will it affect the future of Sugar Puffs or Puffed Wheat?

Mr. Curry: I am not an expert on puffs of any sort. The organisation that represents my hon. Friend's cereal growers fully supports the order as it helps research that is in their interests. The other change provides that information which the HGCA may require from levy payers should be 4 limited to that which is necessary for determining their liability to a levy. I mention those points because the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) who is an expert in minor nooks and crannies of the legal system raised them last year. I undertook to bring this levy in order at the first opportunity, which is now and I have therefore fulfilled my undertaking.

10.32 am

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley): I shall be extremely brief. The Minister has outlined the situation and it is clear that the HGCA has had extensive consultation on the proposal. To enable the levy to fund research and development it will have two levels. The lower levy is for those involved in animal food processing. The people represented by the hon. Member for South Hams (Mr. Steen) will certainly not lose through it. Some animal food processors will now pay a slightly lower levy. There is certainly no reason for us to oppose the order. Furthermore, it seems eminently sensible that the recovery of unpaid levies should be done through the civil rather than the magistrates court.

10.34 am

Mr. Elliott Morley (Glanford and Scunthorpe): Can the Minister answer a brief question? I understand that there are instruments to measure the grain quality and yield which must be standardised. Is the Minister convinced that the instruments used to measure those standards comply with EC directives on standardisation and are standardised with the main instrument which is kept in Germany to ensure consistency?

Mr. Curry: I know that the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) has a constituency interest in this technical matter. I undertake to examine it and I will respond to him in due course.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Committee has considered the Home-Grown Cereals Authority (Variation) Scheme (Approval) Order 1991.

Committee rose at twenty-five minutes to Eleven o'clock.


Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse, (Chairman)

Beaumont-Dark, Mr.

Boswell, Mr.

Coombs, Mr. Anthony

Curry, Mr.

Howell, Mr. Ralph

Morley, Mr.

Nicholson, Miss Emma

Pike, Mr.

Powell, Mr. William

Steen, Mr.

Stweart, Mr. Andy

Tapsell, Sir P.

The following also attended, pursuant to Standing Order No. 101(2) Dicks, Mr. Terry (Hayes and Harlington)