17 August 2001
Haskins’ farm 500,000 in red

By FWi staff

THE man charged with making farming profitable in the wake of foot-and-mouth is running a 500,000 overdraft on his family farm, reports the Daily Mail.

Lord Haskins, who was appointed as the governments rural recovery co-ordinator, has already outraged farmers by accusing them of relying on state aid.

Then on Thursday (16 August) the Daily Express revealed that his familys 900-acre East Yorkshire farm gets 60,000 a year in subsidy.

The Mail says that this latest revelation will add to concerns whether he is the right man to solve the crisis in British agriculture.

Lord Haskins, chairman of Northern Foods, is personally worth several million pounds and does not profit from the farm, which is run by his son Paul.

The mixed farm includes cereals, sheep and cattle, but is increasingly moving into potatoes and peas which do not attract subsidies.

“For better or for worse, I understand farming,” he said.

In its editorial, the Mail says the nothing beats the “two-faced effrontery” of New Labours attitude towards farmers.

It asks: “Having alleged that dodgy farmers have been responsible for spreading foot-and-mouth, who does it put in charge of its rural recovery programme?”

“Thats right, a dodgy New Labour farmer.”

Meanwhile, the EU Commission to give the UK 225 million as a first instalment in compensation for the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The Netherlands is to get 25m, while France and Ireland will each receive 2m to compensate for smaller outbreaks.

More money is set to follow as the commission assesses the cost to farmers in the UK, Netherlands, France and the Republic of Ireland.

The EU has to pick up 60% of the cost of an epidemic where whole herds have had to be destroyed.

It has another 400m available which can be released once officials have completed their inspection of farm sites in member states.

Three new outbreaks of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed since Wednesday evening, including two in Cumbria and one in one in West Yorkshire.

The UK total now stands at 1957.

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage