17 November 2000
Brown promises pig-business help

By David Green

FARM minister Nick Brown says he is on the verge of obtaining European clearance for a restructuring scheme for the UK pig industry.

In a visit to East Anglia on Wednesday (15 November), he promised to do all he could to help pig farmers affected that could help farmers hit by swine fever.

Mr Brown, who has been criticised for not visiting the region earlier, said the scheme could help farmers stay the industry as well as those who want to get out.

He pledged to help get arrangements for a new industry levy into place and to see if there was some way of getting money “up front” to help those in most need.

Consultation began this week on a proposal to introduce a 20p levy on pigs for a fund to help farmers hit by swine fever and to prepare them for future crises.

James Black, of the National Pig Association, said he hoped Mr Brown could “bridge the time gap” between setting up the levy and funds becoming available.

“The big issue is how people deal with bridging the gap between what theyre getting from the new welfare disposal scheme and the value of the stock,” he said.