Rural charter calls for urgent action

28 May 1998

Rural charter calls for urgent action

FARMERS and agricultural businesses yesterday signed a “rural charter” calling for urgent action to save the countryside from financial ruin.

Copies of the charter – with 25 signatories from leaders and industry heads – were sent to key ministers and the Governor of the Bank of England.

Demands included lower interest rates and a cut in the value of the pound to help export trade.

Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers Union, told a news conference that tens of thousands of jobs could disappear in farming and allied industries this year unless something was done.

Mr Gill said farm incomes had fallen almost 50% in 1997 and that agricultural investment was expected to fall 37% this year.

The Independent reports two case studies of farmers hard hit by the rural crisis. But its leader column is critical of farmers asking for favours from the Government. It says market logic has to apply to the farming industry just like it has done to the coal, steel and financial service industries.

It says in its leader column that the Government should treat most farmers for what they are: “another interest group with a keen appetite for the contents of the public trough.”

  • Agriculture unites under Rural Charter banner; plus Rural Charter details, FWi, yesterday (27 May) — Click here
  • The Independent 28/05/98 page 8, page 20 (leader)
  • The Times 28/05/98 page 10
  • The Scotsman 28/05/98 page 28
  • The Daily Telegraph 28/05/98 page 4

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