21 September 2001

Bank increases level of support

BARCLAYS has announced a 12-month support package for farmers who continue to be affected by foot-and-mouth.

It includes loan repayment deferral for up to 12 months, extended overdraft facilities and expert advice for businesses where needed.

This replaces the banks original loan break, where farmers received a three-month break on loan repayment, which ended on Sept 15.

Grant Philips, managing director of Barclays agricultural division, predicted a tough winter ahead. "With these measures we hope to ease the immediate financial pressure customers are under and help them prepare for what we hope will be more normal trading conditions next year."

In addition, Barclays has pledged an extra £500,000 to the original £1m fund for community projects to help economic regeneration in affected rural areas.

Another £50,000 is to go to local events offering advice and support to both customers and non-customers around the country. &#42