6 June 1997

Compensation an uphill task

WINNING compensation for currency revaluations, or to help stricken beef producers, will be an uphill struggle, NFU leader, Sir David Naish, has warned.

He met farm minister, Jack Cunningham, this week to stress the urgent need for compensation to cover the drop in incomes, estimated to be more than £400m, caused by the two revaluations that have already been triggered this year.

The further revaluation this week would wipe at least another £100m from incomes, Sir David said. But Dr Cunningham offered no immediate prospect of help, saying he wanted to wait for this weeks revaluation before he reached any conclusions.

Sir David also asked Dr Cunning-ham to offer beef producers a top-up payment for this years suckler cow premium and urged him not to cut the £120m rendering subsidy. But the minister remained non-commital, stressing Labours pre-election promise not to exceed the previous governments spending plans for at least two years.

Lifting the beef ban was the key to everything, Sir David said. Not only was the strong £ sucking in beef from abroad, but the ban had also caused a huge imbalance in the UK market. Retailers could not source enough hindquarter beef because of the bottleneck caused by processors being unable to find markets for forequarter cuts. &#42