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Country News - 2002

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Pressure grows for more rural spending
Thursday 27 June

AS next month's crucial Government spending round approaches, six rural organisations have joined together to turn the screw in demanding more funds for countryside projects.

They include the Government's own Countryside Agency, the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the National Trust, who say that the imminent review provides a "are opportunity."

The inclusion of the countryside in the comprehensive spending review, says their joint submission to Chancellor Gordon Brown, "would give a new direction to agriculture after years of crisis, would meet public desires for conservation of the countryside and would restore consumer confidence in food."

In Yorkshire, Dorothy Fairburn, regional director for the CLA, commented: "The organisations, which also include the Food and Drink Federation and the National Consumer Council, have called on the Government to fully implement the recommendations of the Curry Report on Farming and Food."

One of the key concerns is that the Government accepts the Curry recommendation for a fully funded countryside stewardship scheme available to all farmers - which would mean squeezing extra funds from the so-called 'Iron Chancellor.'

Says Dorothy Fairburn: "I do believe that the sums involved are small in terms of overall Government spending but if the Government is committed to the environment, the countryside, and the farming community, it must go for this opportunity."

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