17 November 1998
Government unveils £120m aid package

By FWi staff

THE Government has unveiled a £120m aid package for agriculture targeted at beef, sheep and dairy farmers.

Nick Brown, the Agriculture minister, told the House of Commons that farmers were experiencing “exceptionally difficult times”.

He said trading would remain tough in the months ahead but felt the package would give the industry the means “to face the future with confidence”.

Tim Yeo, the shadow agriculture minister, asserted that the current crisis in the industry was “made in Downing Street”.

He said the level of the Pound during the past 18 months had been a far more important cause of falling farm income than the weather.

Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers Union, said the aid package would provide a welcome confidence boost and “a short-term safety net for some farmers teetering on the brink of financial collapse”.

He appealed for Government action to put downward pressure on interest rates and Sterling.

The Government is giving £60m to hill farmers and £48.3m to beef farmers.

The aid to beef farmers will mean an extra subsidy of £29.50 a cow.

The Government is also reprieving the Calf Aid Processing Scheme which had been due to end in November.