9 May 2001
Union plans election strategy
By FWi staff
NATIONAL Farmers Union leaders from across the country are in London for their last council meeting before the General Election on 7 June.
NFU president Ben Gill used the meeting to update council delegates on the foot-and-mouth crisis and the unions activities in the run-up to election day.
Mr Gill called on farmers to look beyond the foot-and-mouth crisis and held rebuild Britains agricultural industry which has been hit by a series of crises.
He declined to say foot-and-mouth was over and maintained that it was important for farmers not become complacent about the disease.
But it was vital that producers looked to the future, he added.
“It is important we do not ignore the rest of the industry. If there hadnt been foot-and-mouth we wouldnt have been sitting around twiddling our thumbs.”
Although Labour is widely tipped to win the election, the NFU will step up its lobbying of MPs from all political parties as polling day approaches.
In a bid to secure a better future for farmers, Mr Gill will launch the NFUs own election manifesto on Thursday (10 May).
He said many producers were still suffering from the legacy of last autumns floods, which saw thousands of hectares of farmland under water.
The union was also intent rebuilding Britains beef industry, which continues to suffer from the collapse of markets in the wake of the BSE crisis, said Mr Gill.
Other pressing issues that should be addressed included tuberculosis in badgers, the right-to-roam, and the possibility of a tax on pesticides.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage