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Beckett and Brown propose Labour's nightmare for UK farming

by 5m Editor
9 December 2005, at 12:00am

UK - Farming industry leaders have branded the government's vision for the future of the common agricultural policy (CAP)* as "one-sided" and "out of date". The joint paper, from DEFRA secretary Margaret Beckett and Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, was tabled last Friday (2 December) in the run-up to key discussions on the EU budget and trade liberalisation. "The paper contributes to the debate already under way on how to achieve a sustainable future for agriculture and helps answer those who have asked what the UK government means when it calls for further CAP reform," they said. Repeating much of the anti-CAP rhetoric expressed by Prime Minister Tony Blair in recent months, the report says the CAP is "increasingly out of step" with the needs of Europe. It imposes significant costs on developing countries and taxpayers, and continues to have a negative impact on the environment. But these views are fiercely contested by farming leaders. "The report is one-sided, at times polemic and relies heavily on out-of-date sources," said NFU president Tim Bennett. "It is more likely to antagonise than persuade our EU partners, particularly at the current delicate stage of European budget negotiations." Government adviser Sir Don Curry added that he was "deeply concerned" by the tone of the report, which calls for an end to all agricultural subsidies and protection within 10-15 years. Source: FWi

5m Editor