10 May 1996

TUC says stem BSE job losses

MAFF will be urged next week to use up to £1bn available through EU grant schemes to help tackle job losses caused by the BSE crisis.

Senior representatives from the Trades Union Congress will tell junior farm minister, Tim Boswell, at a meeting on Tuesday, that the government should immediately apply to Brussels for money in existing funds to help rural areas.

The TUC has warned that up to 10,000 jobs are at risk and the money should be used to help companies stay in business, protect jobs and retrain workers.

Dave Feickert, TUC European officer, said most of the £1bn was available through the objective 5a and 5b schemes up until 1999. Funds from 5a, totalling £359m, are operated nationally by MAFF, while cash from 5b, amounting to £668m, is run by local authorities.

Mr Feickert said one of the problems was that any cash from Brussels had to be matched by domestic funds. "MAFF has told us they dont have any more money," he said. &#42