12 November 1998
£50m package for farmers?

THE Government is expected to announce an aid package for farming in the next week, after talks with farmers leaders yesterday (Wednesday).

Aid – put at £50 million in the Financial Times – would come from the European Unions “agrimoney” fund, which compensates farmers for fluctuations in national currency. It would be particularly targeted at livestock businesses.

Seventy-one per cent of any agrimoney package would have to come from the British Treasury.

Yesterday, farming leaders from all parts of the UK met the Prime Minister and agriculture minister Nick Brown at Downing Street to put the case for their members.

NFU president Ben Gill stressed to Mr Blair that average farm incomes had fallen by around 80% in the past year. After the meeting, Mr Gill said, “We are extremely hopeful the Government will respond to our needs … We hope for an announcement of an aid package in the days ahead.”

Progress towards the ending of the beef export ban was also discussed.