15 May 2001
Lib Dems pledge rural revitalisation

By FWi staff

THE Liberal Democrats are due to launch their election manifesto which includes a promise to create a “revitalised rural Britain”.

Party leader Charles Kennedy is expected to outline a series of measures designed to tackle problems in the countryside later on Tuesday (15 May).

Colin Breed, rural affairs and agriculture spokesman, said the manifesto would set out the partys commitment to the future of a revitalised rural Britain.

It will pledge Common Agricultural Policy reform, redirecting support to small family farms more effectively and meeting environmental and social goals.

The document will also promise a ministry for rural affairs, offer more support to organic farming and halt commercial growing of GM crops until 2004.

“We will reform the CAP to refocus support on sustainable rural development, rather than on damaging production subsidy, said Mr Breed.

We will use CAP reform to cut red tape for farmers by organising support through a single countryside management contract, he added.

Mr Breed also revealed the Lib Dems intention to create a new entrants scheme to encourage new talent into farming to help keep the industry alive.

This would be linked with a targeted early retirement scheme for farmers.

This would allow tenants at the end of their working lives, who wanted to leave farming, to do so with dignity, he said.

NEW SERVICE

CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new daily email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest on foot-and-mouth and other farming-related stories