14 November 2000
Treasury dashes flood aid hopes

By Alistair Driver

THE Treasury appears to have backtracked on comments made by Chancellor Gordon Brown hinting at government help for flood hit farmers.

Mr Brown said he would discuss with agriculture minister Nick Brown what could be done to help farmers affected by some of the worst floods in 400 years.

But now it seems that the Chancellor was merely referring to a previously announced initiative, possibly unaware that it was already in the public domain.

“I think we will have to look at a situation where many of the fields are flooded,” he told the BBC1 Breakfast with Frost programme on Sunday (12 November).

“We have to be aware that these are unique floods. They are causing a huge amount of damage and the Government stands ready to help.”

This came after the Ministry of Agriculture announced it would help ensure flood-hit farmers would not lose subsidy payments.

The Chancellors comments were widely interpreted as an indication that additional help could be on the way.

But, speaking on Tuesday (14 November), a Treasury spokesman played down this prospect, and said the Chancellor was referring to MAFFs ongoing plans to help.

A MAFF spokesman said: “It did appear that the chancellor was suggesting something different. But perhaps he was not aware that MAFF had already announced its plans.”