19 February 1998
Government presses for farm subsidies shake-up

By Press Association

MINISTERS are to push for the scrapping of compulsory set-aside of farmland in future talks on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, deputy agriculture minister Jeff Rooker said.

In a Commons written reply, Mr Rooker said the Government did not consider compulsory set-aside, where farmers are subsidised to leave land fallow, an “appropriate method of managing the EU cereals market”.

He said the European Commission had proposed that farmers should be able to continue to set-aside land on a voluntary basis after CAP reform.

“The Government could support this on environmental grounds and to facilitate the production of industrial and energy crops,” he said.