01 October 1999
Brown wants rapid red tape review

By Jonathan Riley

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown has called on the chairmen of the three newly established red tape working groups to complete their reviews within weeks.

The three groups are investigating the procedures and bureaucracy relating to the intervention scheme, meat inspection and the IACS scheme.

Farmers Weekly understands that the deadline for evidence to be submitted to the groups is next Friday (8 Oct.).

Meat and Livestock Commission chairman Don Curry is leading the group looking at IACS payments.

His group is also looking at inspection procedures and details surrounding other payment schemes, such as suckler cow premium and beef special premium.

Mr Curry said an intense period of activity had begun and he expected to have the rest of the group appointed and attending its first meeting “within days”.

He admitted the scale of the task was immense but said he was not prepared to waste my time talking shop in these working groups.

“The work we are about to tackle must be taken seriously by government and must result in a reduction in the red tape binding farmers businesses,” he said.

His counterpart heading the team that will review meat hygiene and inspection procedures is the current chairman of NFU Corporate, Robin Pooley.

“The working group has to be searching and thorough but there is a real need for speedy relief and we must conclude quickly.

“The scale of the task ahead may mean that the group has to produce an interim report for government to begin acting on,” said Mr Pooley.

The third group, which is reviewing the application of the UK intervention, is being chaired by Norman Coward, former agriculture director of Midland Bank.