19 January 2000
NFUS leader attacks interest rate focus

By FWi staff

SCOTTISH farm leader Jim Walker has told Bank of England governor Eddie George that interest rate policy should take more account of agriculture.

Mr Walker, who is president of the National Farmers Union of Scotland, met with Mr George on Wednesday (January 20).

Policies designed by the Bank of England to tackle the problems of booming sectors of finance and services are not appropriate for farming, said Mr Walker.

“The [bank] must better understand how its decisions, and their effect on the value of Sterling, can undermine industries like ours,” he said.

“Terms of trade and currency fluctuations have threatened the viability of many businesses, particularly those in fragile rural areas.”

Mr Walker told Mr George that agriculture had a key role to play in the prosperity of local economies in North East Scotland and the Borders.

“He must recognise the need for a more innovative approach to monetary policy than the single blunt instrument of interest rate movements,” he said.