30 November 2000
Farm incomes at 60-year low
By Alistair Driver
GOVERNMENT figures are set to reveal that UK farm incomes have plummeted by 27% – their lowest level for 60 years.
Total UK income from farming for 2000 is forecast to be 1.7 billion, continuing a downward trend from 5.3bn in 1995 and 2.3bn in 1999.
The statistics will be released on Thursday (30 November). UK incomes are 72% lower than five years ago, having doubled between 1990 and 1995.
The hardest-hit UK farmers appear to be milk, cereal and potato producers, according to the statistics, prepared for the Ministry of Agriculture.
But who has suffered the most will not be known until next year, because specific figures detailing individual sectors have not yet been released.
Forecasts for farm incomes in Scotland will show a 13% fall of 33m compared with last year, although some sectors have shown increased profits.
Estimates of hill farm incomes available for Scotland show an overall rise of 50% to 4300 compared with last year.
Annual income for Scottish cattle and beef farmers is expected to rise by 1700 to 5700. Income for sheep farmers has also risen – but only to 700.
The government is likely to blame the statistics mainly on the strength of Sterling, which has put downward pressure on the price of farm outputs.