21 January 2000
Sheep premium payment plummets

by FWi staff

THE final payment of the 1999 Sheep Annual Premium Scheme will be so low that it will fail to compensate sheep farmers for plummeting market prices.

The European Commission announced the payment will be 13.58 per head, compared with a 1998 payment of 16 a head.

UK producers have lost 33.5 million because of low sheepmeat market prices over the past two years. They will now see the premium reduced by 66.5 million.

The soaring pound against the euro has been a major factor in causing the drop in the final SAPS payment, said the National Farmers Union.

The NFU said the slump in value demonstrated the need for the Government to claim a total of 71.1m available from Brussels to offset currency movements.

NFU President Ben Gill said: “This is a stark example of the devastating damage being wreaked on British farming by the pounds strength.”