19 March 1998
Tories clash with Cunningham over farm incomes
By Ben Summers, Parliamentary Staff, PA News
FARM minister Jack Cunningham clashed with the Tories in the Commons today (Thursday) over the effect of Chancellor Gordon Browns tax and spending policies on farm incomes.
Opposition agriculture spokesman James Paice challenged Dr Cunningham at question time: “After two Budgets, the average 300-acre farm … would be some £1,300 worse off under a Labour Government.”
Mr Paice said this weeks Budget had not done anything to dampen the strength of Sterling, so farmers faced the prospect of a further Green Pound revaluation.
“Yet that strength of Sterling has helped to save you some money in your departments budget.”
He called on the Agriculture Minister to “look in your budget to find other ways in which you can help relieve the massive burden that is now being placed on British agriculture.”
Dr Cunningham said that both Budgets had helped rural areas. He declared: “It is uniquely only the Conservative Party that cant find a single word of praise for the Chancellor of the Exchequer after the introduction of his excellent Budget earlier this week.”
The Tories consistently called for more money, Dr Cunningham said. “They say I should find money from within my existing budget. What is it they suggest I cut to provide the extra money?”