£20m cash boost for rural England
BRUSSELS has agreed to give more than £20m to help develop rural areas in England.
Six areas of the country whose overall plans have already been approved by the UK government will get the money, provided they put up identical amounts themselves.
They are: Northern uplands £4.6m; Midlands uplands £0.5m; Lincolnshire £2.2m; East Anglia £2.5m; parts of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset £8.9m; and the English Marches £1.7m.
Although not directly aimed at agriculture, the funding will help the industry indirectly. Plans include improving infrastructure like roads and developing marketing, tourist and training facilities.
The funding comes under the EUs Leader II community initiative programme designed to help people in rural areas develop their economies.
Under Leader I in 1991/93 the EU allocated £79,000 to parts of Devon and west Cornwall. The NFU welcomed the announcement. It is informing all its regional offices in the areas affected and urging farmers to join the local development groups that will draw up specific business plans. *