16 January 1998

Bishops warning

GOVERNMENT must listen to cash-strapped farmers and act quickly, according to the Bishop of Salisbury.

Afetr a meeting with seven local farmers, representing all sectors of the industry, the Rt Rev David Stancliffe said a disaster for farmers was a disaster for the whole community.

The result could be a reduction in the countrys self-sufficiency in food production, he warned. "The government should listen to what the farmers have to say and act quickly," he insisted.

The farmers had explained to the bishop the problems they faced, with prices at an all-time low because of the strength of sterling and green £ revaluations. They also pointed out the tighter animal welfare and health regulations imposed on British farmers, compared with other countries from which meat imports were increasing. &#42