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Countryside paying the price for single payment fiasco says NFU President

by 5m Editor
3 November 2006, at 10:27am

UK - The countryside is paying the price for the Government’s mistakes over the single payment scheme at a time when funding for the environment should be a political priority, NFU President Peter Kendall said yesterday.

Speaking at the Association of Drainage Authorities’ annual conference, Mr Kendall said the Government should be picking up the bill for the single payment problems instead of passing it on to the rural economy through budget cuts to Defra.

Mr Kendall said: “The latest round of cuts appears to be the direct result of overspend produced by the botched delivery of single payments. There is something inherently wrong and unfair about the countryside having to pay the price for the Government’s maladministration.

“However we need a long-term approach to tackling environmental issues and farmers have an important role to play. I believe the Government is serious about dealing with the problems of climate change and now is the time to maximise the potential of our farmland for both food and energy production.

“The industry is ready and able to play a vital role in providing solutions to the challenges facing the world and we as farmers can make a real difference, producing locally-sourced fresh food, as well as maintaining and managing the countryside. All these elements remain key to dealing with climate change issues.”

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5m Editor