05 June 1998
Minister hails savings for
farmers from cutting red tape
By Brian Brady, Press Association
HARD-pressed farmers have been saved millions, thanks to changes to official forms, junior agriculture minister Elliot Morley told the Commons yesterday.
He said alterations, including the use of pre-printed addresses and barcodes, had saved farmers £5.4 million, with a further £1.1 million savings expected in the coming year.
He added that most of the forms related to EU subsidy applications.
Tory Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) asked at question time what the Government was doing to relieve the burden of forms to be filled in by farmers already hit by falling incomes and rising interest rates.
Mr Morley replied: “What we have done is introduced changes which so far have saved £5.4 million in reduction in time filling in forms, with a further £1.1 million to be found this coming year, in relation to rationalising forms, pre-printing names and addresses, introducing bar-codes and trying to minimise the cost and the burdens on farmers.”
Barry Sheerman (Lab Huddersfield) claimed many of the forms confronting farmers had been introduced by the previous Tory Government.
He added: “No one minds in the farming community filling in forms if they are for a purpose, and that purpose surely must be helping the small and medium farmer to make a good living.”