Easier for outgoer

5 June 1998

Easier for outgoer

FARM minister Jack Cunningham is to be asked to pledge government support to help producers either improve their businesses or retire gracefully.

The governments current stance will only cause more misery for farmers, says Richard Wood, chief executive of Genus, the dairy breeding and advisory group.

He believed the government should match money put up by farmers to pay for advice.

"Dr Cunningham is thinking of doing to the farming industry what Maggie Thatcher did to the manufacturing sector in the 1980s. But farmers are very different. They batten down the hatches, and continue to make losses until they have eroded away all their assets." Besides the "pain and hardship" that would cause, broke farmers will also be a burden on the state, he adds.

Mr Wood estimates about £25m would be needed to help those dairy farmers who would benefit; £700 from each farmer and the same amount from the government. "There is no reason why it couldnt be extended to other sectors as well," adds Mr Wood.

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