Front bench Tory wants co-operation to aid agriculture
By Jonathan Riley
SHADOW farm minister Tim Yeo has promised to shelve political differences with the Labour government in the interest of farming.
Speaking at an NFU fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference on Tuesday, Mr Yeo said that saving British agriculture was more important than scoring party political points.
He pledged that if farm minister Nick Brown came forward with any proposals that encouraged the return of confidence within the industry, he would give them fair wind through parliament.
Mr Yeo urged the government to lift the beef-on-the-bone ban, believing that would start the process of confidence building in an industry which, he said, was suffering an acute lack of confidence.
The strong £ was the biggest single factor contributing to farmings plight and he blamed high interest rates, which were crippling the agricultural industry, on government policy.
In the coming weeks and months Mr Yeo said he and his team would be touring the country to talk to farmers, suppliers, retailers, processors and consumers.
"We will fight the corner of hard pressed British producers. We will put their case directly to the retailers and assess how to make consumers more aware of the produce they are buying. Then we will argue for fairer balance between farm gate and retail prices, and search for any regulations which place unnecessary burdens on British farmers and call for their immediate removal," he said. *