30 July 1998
Minister Brown is first to dispatch box
By FWi staff
AGRICULTURE Minister Nick Brown this afternoon (Thursday) becomes the first of the Cabinet newcomers to face a Commons dispatch-box grilling – just a day after he announced radical changes to the Governments farm policies.
In his first announcement since taking office on Monday, Mr Brown yesterday postponed the proposed early retirement scheme for livestock farmers, announced the end of the Calf Processing Aid Scheme, and scrapped Nitrate Sensitive Areas.
But he pledged more money for organic farmers, said Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances would continue until the year 2000, and promised more investment in flood-defence measures.
The announcements followed the recent Comprehensive Spending Review which wiped £135 million off the Governments agriculture budget over the next three years.
Mr Brown is expected to face a tough time today in Parliament when he takes to the dispatch box at 2.30pm.
The NFU yesterday described the scrapping of the Calf Processing Aid Scheme as a massive body-blow to farmers.
“The cattle industry is already struggling under the weight of the beef export ban and the farm incomes crisis arising from the strength of Sterling,” said NFU President Ben Gill.