05 September 1997
HLCA review must help hill farmers – NFU
By Jeremy Hunt
NOTHING must undermine the future of keeping cows in the hills, and suckler herds must be supported to the hilt in the forthcoming hill livestock compensatory allowance (HLCA) review, according to the NFU.
Tim Bennett, chirman of the National Farmers Unions less-favoured areas committee said it was “imperative” that the £60 million paid into the HLCA scheme to bolster falling suckler-herd incomes remains in place.
He said the Government “must not put the family silver at risk”, saying suckler herds hold the key to rebuilding the British beef industry, which has suffered due to the BSE crisis.
Silence from the Government on the future of the HLCA has hill farmers concerned that the package might be revised. The NFU will launch its annual hill-farming review on Monday (September 8), along with results of a national survey of hill farmers views on the state of their businesses.
Statistics reveal that less than 42% of less favoured areas farmers earn less than £10,000 a year. The NFU claims that a managed landscape, admired by millions of tourists and netting billions of pounds for the economy each year, needs Government investment if farmers are to maintain it.