Poorest farmers win emergency aid deal

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The Independent Online
AN EMERGENCY package of measures to help Britain's poorest farmers to stave off bankruptcy is being drawn up by the Government.

Nick Brown, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, plans to spend tens of millions of pounds to keep afloat hard-up producers, such as hill farmers. The measures will fall short of demands by the National Farmers' Union (NFU), but they will be seen as a sign that ministers are worried about a backlash against the Government in rural areas. The Treasury is understood to be sympathetic.

A survey by NatWest Bank predicted this week that more than 25,000 farmers will be forced out of the industry, up to 15 per cent of full-time producers. According to the NFU, their total incomes will be halved to under pounds 1bn this year.