9 May 2001
Work with us, Gill tells politicians

By Isabel Davies

FARM leader Ben Gill has called for the next government to work in partnership with the industry to build a new future for agriculture.

The National Farmers Union president said it was important to recognise that the industry could not go back to where it was before foot-and-mouth.

The General Election on 7 June was an opportunity to take the industrys arguments forward and push forward to a new form of agriculture, he said.

Addressing the first meeting of council members since January, Mr Gill warned there would be some difficult decisions to make on the way.

“Some of it will be painful, some of it will not be easy. Some of it will require our members to sit back and reflect on a change that is quite difficult.

“We need to be strong and determined to keep it focused around the key issue that the industry is keen to go on, but needs a partnership with government.”

He added: “The government must oversee fair contractual terms across the industry and across society in general.”

Mr Gill said it was important to reject suggestions that the 1% contribution that agriculture makes to Britains economy was unimportant.

“We are a key part of the food industry and that food industry is 14% of the economy and the biggest single employer,” he said.