DEFRA SECRETARY Margaret Beckett has refused to be drawn about what cross-compliance measures will be introduced in England, during her visit to the Royal Show.

Mrs Beckett repeatedly stressed that she was not in a position to make an announcement on the issue, as she addressed the press on Monday (Jul 5).

“Important consultations on cross-compliance and the National Reserve have closed very recently, and we need to take account of the range of views expressed,” she said.

“I hope to make announcements on these key areas in the coming weeks.”

Mrs Beckett said she understood why farmers wanted to know the outcome of the consultation.

She added: “We are very much taking on board the comments made. We will do our best to get a package together as speedily as possible.”

The minister said she wanted to emphasise to farmers why last year‘s CAP reform deal was so crucial.

“It is impossible to stress too highly the huge opportunities that decoupling will bring to farming,” she said,

“By breaking the link between subsidy and production, the industry now has the chance to shape its own future, is free to react directly to market signals, and is not forced to follow the unsustainable production patterns of the past.”