Friday, August 31, 2012

BERWICK PRESS

Labour call on county council to support Northumberland farmers; By Staff Reporter; Published on Friday 31 August 2012 12:03; Northumberland Labour group are calling for the county council to “support it’s under-pressure farming industry”.; The industry has been hit by failing harvests and squeezed pricing margins; coupled by uncertain economic conditions because of the austerity squeeze.; The weather has been particularly poor and harvests in some areas have been badly damaged by the severe weather.; In week seven of the British harvest season; only 45 per cent of the combinable crop has been brought in. With continuing uncertainty over the impact of weather conditions; there has been a noticeable impact with machinery only able to work a maximum of half the normal working time.; This is the first year Northumberland farmers have had no local food processing plant to rely on to assist their incomes following the closure of Northumbria Foods.; The continued squeeze on the sector hasn’t been helped by the failure of world harvests in North America and Russia to keep up their share of yield; and farmers who raise livestock on grain-based products have seen their operating costs soar.; Labour group leader Grant Davey said: “This is an uncertain time in the Northumberland economy with the loss of two major private sector employers in Alcan and Northumbria Foods; so it’s important we make sure we protect; as much as we can; the farming industry during a time of economic strain.; “We have to protect jobs and livelihoods in tough economic times and it’s time the Liberal administration at Morpeth demonstrated it had another plan rather than just cut services and raise ‘stealth taxes’ on the county.; “That’s why we need to see an action plan to support the farming industry in Northumberland because we can’t afford to see another job shock to our economy.”;

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