DEFRA officials have confirmed they are seeking approval from Brussels for a Private Storage Aid scheme to help support the autumn lamb market, but as The Grocer went to press it was not yet clear there would also be a purchase for destruction scheme. At this week's meeting of EU farm and food ministers in Brussels, DEFRA secretary of state Margaret Beckett proposed a scheme whereby farmers would give up their right to produce lamb or sheep of any sort in return for a cash payment equal to the value of the production. DEFRA officials explained: "One of the options is (for the government) to buy back the quota and not redistribute it." The main part of the Commission plan to streamline' the sector is the introduction of a new flat rate payment to replace the current complex variable rate payment. Most ministers support the main principles of the proposals but some had raised problems over how the aid would be distributed. Most want the proposed payment to be larger than the current subsidies. {{M/E MEAT }}

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