12 January 1996

Banks to ease path for young

HIGH-LEVEL talks between bankers and the farming community have taken place in a bid to ease the plight of youngsters trying to enter the industry.

Representatives from the NFUs education committee and the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs have been holding talks with bankers over the possibility of bringing in soft loans, share farming and sponsorship schemes for new entrants.

Soft loans are designed to allow youngsters the chance to pay minimal amounts back to banks in the first five years, enabling them to get a head-start.

Julie Smith, NFU headquarters milk spokeswoman, said the move was an attempt to look outside the dairy sector for answers to the young entrants problem.

Dr Smith said it was all too easy for people to think the quota situation was the only issue in the dairy sector. But she stressed investment in land, cows and buildings was also needed for the young to succeed.

lThe tax system could be used to persuade landowners to let land to new entrants, says Lord Carter, Labours agriculture spokesman in the House of Lords.

Emphasising that it was his personal idea, not Labour policy, Lord Carter told Somerset NFUs annual meeting at Taunton that it would be successful only if the tax concession was restricted to those who were genuinely letting land and offering a reasonable term. &#42