16 April 1998
Hague heads for the hills to meet farmers

By FWi staff

TORY leader William Hague will meet hill farmers concerned about their future in his constituency of Richmond, North Yorks, on Monday 22 April.

The meeting has been arranged by the National Farmers Union. It follows hill farmers worries about the economic evaluation of the Hill and Livestock Compensatory Allowance scheme and the Agenda 2000 proposals.

Mr Hague will visit hill farmer Matthew Wilkes, of Kidstone Farm, Bishopdale, Leyburn, where he will meet with a small number of local farmers. He will also talk to NFU North Riding & Durham Less-Favoured Areas chairman Richard Betton, and NFU North East regions senior policy advisor Kevin Pearce.

Earlier this month, Government released an economic evaluation of HLCAs carried out by independent consultants Drew Associates. The survey (FWi, 8 April) – a think-piece for Government – highlighted a number of cost-saving measures, including modulation of HLCAs.

The NFU claims that if the surveys more unpalatable proposals were introduced, the average hill farmer with 500 ewes and 20 cows earning £12,000 a year could lose up to £3,800 in Government aid.