Cutbacks in hill-farm subsidies threaten scenery

02 September 1998

Cutbacks in hill-farm subsidies threaten scenery

BRITAINS picturesque uplands run the risk of becoming an overgrown wasteland because the hill-farmers who look after it are going bankrupt, argues a report by the National Farmers Union.

The report says falling incomes are threatening the survival of existing farmers and discouraging their children from entering the business.

It finds that the average earnings of Britains 60,000 hill farmers fell by more than 60% over the past two years. The fall is attributed to the strong pound and the continuing ban on British beef.

Net income on a typical farm is unlikely to exceed £8,000 in 1998-1999, the report predicts.

Peter Allen, chairman of the NFUs less-favoured areas committee, said: “The crisis facing hill farmers is threatening to turn some of our countrys most beautiful landscape into unmanaged wastelands.”

Hill farmers have suffered £50 million-worth of cutbacks in the special aid they receive to offset the handicap of farming in difficult terrain.

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