27 July 2001
‘Legislation costs farmers dear’

By Mike Stones

EXTRA costs in complying with environmental and animal welfare legislation are blunting UK competitiveness in world markets, warns a Tory farm spokesman.

“It is a fundamental issue which no one seems willing to recognise or able to answer,” said James Paice, MP for Cambridge south east.

Mr Paice was speaking at the Country Land and Business Association Game Fair, at Shuttleworth Old Warden Park, Bedfordshire, on Friday (27 July).

“Imposing restrictions on production, in the form of control on pesticides, fertilisers and antibiotics puts UK producers at an absurd disadvantage,” he said.

The only way to ensure fair competition was either to restrict imports or compensate producers for income loss, said Mr Paice.

“Farmers should be set free to run their businesses unrestricted by government controls and restrictions.

Speaking at another seminar at the Game Fair, Notts farmer Mark Spencer said that new farming entrants have no future solely growing wheat and barley.

The former chairman of the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs said that producers must look to other sources of income.

“New entrants should regard themselves as countryside business people not simply growers of wheat and barley.

Theres no long-term financially secure future solely in cereal production,” said Mr Spencer.

Government help was needed to encourage more countryside entrepreneurs, and farmers should consider adapting their premises for light industrial use.

Encouraging new entrants into farming depended on more than just employment opportunities, he added.

Providing houses that young people could afford to buy, a transport network and the opportunities for social life were all key issues for rural development.”

The Game Fair, the UKs largest outdoor countryside event this year, continues over Saturday and Sunday.

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