9 November 2001
Tories slate agrimoney decision

By Adrienne Francis

THE governments refusal to apply for agrimoney from Brussels to help farmers was criticised in Parliament on Thursday (8 November).

Anne McIntosh MP (Con, Vale of York) said the decision sent signal to farmers that the government saw, “no viable future” for British farming.

Henry Bellingham MP (Con, North-west Norfolk) said that the average income of west Norfolk grain farmers had fallen to 5000 a year.

They had shed staff and cut spending on services. Mr Bellingham said he felt the governments treatment of the issue was extremely shabby.

“This money was available and the government didnt apply for it.”

Ruth Kelly MP (Lab, Bolton west), economic secretary to the Treasury, said the government was fully aware of the difficulties facing farming.

“In the current climate the case for compensation has to be well made.

“It is better at this time to pursue a targeted approach that actually encourages the sector to develop in a way that will help it to progress.”

Hugo Swore MP (Con, East Devon) called for Devon County Council to be compensated for the 25,000 cost of holding its own inquiry.

“There can be no one left in the country, who believes this government cares about rural communities and farmers,” he said.