The BSE crisis coupled with the high value of the pound is making it very hard for beef farmers to survive in their businesses.
ref date:17 Jul 1997 (ECON)
Union council in sombre mood over state of industry
SNFU president attacks UK farmers' second class status in European Union
The Scottish National Farmers' Union council meeting held at Oatridge Agricultural College (outside Edinburgh). The president,Sandy Mole, used his address to highlight the current dilemas facing farmers.
He said the government was wrong to cut the levels of compensation payed to farmers who had their herds killed off in order to try and stem the rise of the BSE disease.
He also said that "UK farmers are now second class citizens in Europe's single market" and that "We have witnessed other member states piling extra costs on us to achieve impeccable health standards. But with breathtaking hypocrisy they refuse to apply the same standards in their own countries.
"And UK farmers are in practice uniquely subject to the ill- effects of the green money system. This undermines our trade just as much as any one- way traffic system imposed by Brussels. It's up to the British Government and the European Commission to stop this discrimination which puts impossible financial pressure on our industry."
He said that farming was one of Scotlands remaining primary industries employing 200,000 and with an output of 2.1 billion pounds. He said more support and a level playing field were needed to ensure survival and growth.