14 July 1995

Minister stresses a close link with land

By Peter Bullen

Political correspondent

DOUGLAS Hogg is not a farmer; he quickly pointed this out in his first interview less than 24 hours after his appointment to the £67,819 a year position.

At the same time he emphasised his close association with the industry.

Mr Hogg has lived in the countryside almost all his life, including some time on the farm owned by his father, Lord Hailsham, so he is familiar with farm life.

But his most important link is through his constituency, Grantham, in that most agricultural of counties, Lincolnshire.

Mr Hogg said he made no pretence of knowing about the technicalities of farming but he had an understanding of it based on a lifetime of living in the countryside and more than 16 years representing Grantham.

Keen to follow up the work on CAP reform that has been high on the agenda of the past three UK farm ministers, he said he was looking forward to the report now being finalised by the CAP "think tank" set up by William Waldegrave.

Joining Mr Hogg as his minister of state is one of his fellow Foreign Office ministers, 45-year-old Parliamentary under secretary Tony Baldry, MP for Banbury. He replaces Michael Jack, who went to the Treasury with William Waldegrave. Mr Baldrys salary is £55,292 a year.

Angela Browning remains at MAFF and is joined as Parliamentary secretary by former farmer and junior education minister Tim Boswell (53). He replaces Lord Howe, who has moved to the defence ministry. MAFF will now have two Parliamentary secretaries in the Commons instead of one in each House.

Each earns £47,987.

New minister of agriculture in Scotland is Lord Lindsay, Upper Largo Fife.

&#8226 Last week Mr Hogg targeted the banning of veal crates as the next step forward in improving animal welfare. &#42