24 August 2000
Lib Dems doubts over advice scheme
By FWi staff
THE Liberal Democrats have expressed doubts that the government can deliver the free business advice scheme announced at the Prime Ministers March farm summit.
The scheme is due to start next month but according to agriculture spokesman Colin Breed there are still questions that need answering about how the scheme will work.
“It is all very well Tony Blair banging on about diversification as the answer to the problems in the farming sector but there are gaping holes in what the government is suggesting,” he said.
Experienced advisers need to be hired on long-term contracts to make sure there is continuity of advice for farmers taking advantage of the 6.5m scheme, he said.
And the government needs to explain how it intends to have all these advisers in place by the start of September.
“Farmers need to know that the government is backing up their fine words on diversification with the best support available,” he said.
A MAFF spokeswoman said final preparations were under way for the scheme and MAFF was on course for it to be launched officially in September. No date has yet been set.
- Summit was media stunt, say MPs, FWi, 30 March 2000
- Blair announces 203m aid package, FWi, 30 March 2000