Tories pledge to abolish red tape

6 October 1999

Tories pledge to abolish red tape

By FWi staff

IN A surprise move which echoes government policy, Shadow Agriculture Minister Tim Yeo has launched his own campaign to cut red tape in the countryside.

Mr Yeo told the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool on Wednesday afternoon that he wanted to go further than promising what the next Tory government would do.

“I want you to help me find the regulations which stifle life and enterprise in rural communities,” he told delegates.

“With the help of the Conservative Countryside Forum, my team and I will consult farmers, their families and other people working in the countryside all over Britain.”

The pledge is similar to the promise by agriculture minister Nick Brown who last month announced his own wide-ranging review of the bureaucracy faced by farmers.

An overwhelming majority of farmers claim that the red tape affecting agriculture had risen in the last few years and increased the costs on their businesses.

Three working groups commissioned by Mr Brown to examine the issue are expected to report back to government officials by the end of this week.

But today, Mr Yeo pledged to publish his own list of regulations which the next Conservative government would abolish.

“I dont care if they originate in Brussels, in Whitehall, or in the Town Hall, theyve got to go,” he said.

In a move which appears to go further than the Labour government, however, the Conservatives would also introduce honesty in food labelling, said Mr Yeo.

“Food labelled British may have been grown abroad and merely processed here.”

Mr Yeo accused Labour of betraying farmers during the current crisis which has swept the industry and seen farm-gate prices plummet.

“First they sent Jack Cunningham who didnt act and didnt listen,” he said. “Then they sent Nick Brown who listened but still didnt act.”

The governments aid package for farmers, which was announced a fortnight ago, was designed to win headlines rather than help Britains farmers, said Mr Yeo.

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