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Country News - 2002

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Mixed reception for Government's food and farming plan
Tuesday 17 December 2002

THE Government's much-heralded blueprint for the future of farming and food production in the UK has met with a mixed reception from the two leading farming bodies.

Whilst the NFU has given it a cool welcome, the Country Land and Business Association in Yorkshire says it "fails to address the key challenge of helping to restore farm incomes to reasonable levels."

The Government plans to switch more farm subsidies to support environmentally sound schemes and rural industries, which the NFU has given a cautious welcome.

However, union president Ben Gill, who farms in North Yorkshire, demanded that any plans must involve an increase in farm prices: "In the last year we have seen a further exodus of more than 15,000 people from farming. This cannot continue nor the 42% fall in UK farm incomes in the last seven years."

The CLA was more critical with Yorkshire director Dorothy Fairburn saying yesterday:

"The review is disappointing and an opportunity largely missed. The Government's acknowledgement that farming matters to the rural and national economy is welcome. However, the industry cannot survive on words alone and change is needed urgently."

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