Yeo pledges to cut EU farming red tape

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Indy Politics

The Conservatives yesterday pledged to implement a "go slow" policy on implementing EU rules on agriculture so that British farmers do not face more red tape than those in other European countries.

The Conservatives yesterday pledged to implement a "go slow" policy on implementing EU rules on agriculture so that British farmers do not face more red tape than those in other European countries.

Tim Yeo, in a speech which drew an ovation from the conference hall, announced that a Tory government would enforce European rules at the same pace as other member states.

Mr Yeo, the shadow Minister of Agriculture, accused the government of burying farmers "under a mountain of paperwork."

"When William Hague is Prime Minister and I am Minister of Agriculture we won't enforce European rules any faster than France, than Spain -- not even Italy," he said.

Britain is currently near the top of the European league table for implementing new European directives on time.

The Tory MP said that he would reform the Common Agricultural Policy.

Mr Yeo said Nick Brown, the agriculture minister, had been "disastrous for dairy farmers whose income under Labour has fallen by 70 per cent ... cereal farmers whose income under Labour has fallen by 75 per cent and disastrous for pig farmers whose income . . . has disappeared altogether."

Later Mr Yeo said that the Conservatives had to learn the lessons of the BSE crisis admitting that, under the last Tory government, mistakes were made.

But Mr Yeo attacked Tony Blair's handling of the beef export ban.

"Today, 14 months after Tony Blair boasted the beef export ban was over, exports are less than 1 per cent of what they were," he said.

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