02 July 1998
Combinable Crops scheme ticked off by Brussels

By Boyd Champness

THE European Commission has chastised the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme for falsely claiming that the National Federation of Small Businesses complaint against it had been dropped.

The Assured Combinable Crops Scheme released a press statement earlier this week claiming that competition authorities in Brussels had ruled that the “scheme does not fall foul of EU competition rules.”

In the statement, Jonothan Tipples, scheme chairman, said: “We are delighted that the challenge by the National Federation of Small Businesses has been brushed aside by the Commission.”

But the Commission released a counter-statement saying that no decision has been made as yet. The Commission will hear the NFSBs anti-competition claims at a meeting later this month.

Bob Robertson, EC agriculture committee chairman, said: “Producing a false press release in not very helpful for their [the ACCSs] case to the Commission. One would expect a more professional approach from a body with the motto `Producing Trust.”

The NFSB lodged a complaint against the scheme last year. It argues that although the scheme appears voluntary on the surface, farmers would ultimately be forced into it by unscrupulous grain merchants.