Send As SMS

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Shropshire Star: Fiasco sparks farmer suicide fears

This was in the Shropshire Star a few days ago. Since this story, Margaret Beckett has been promoted to the Foreign Office as reward for her incompetence in charge of DEFRA.

Debt-ridden farmers across Shropshire have contemplated suicide as the only escape from the government’s single payment fiasco, it was revealed today.

The Rural Stress Network, founded during the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, said financial pressures were intolerable for farmers who have been waiting months for subsidies.

Many were battling with banks over sky-high charges. Others had no money to feed their families, while “three or four” in the last week said they had thought about suicide.

The Single Payment Scheme, which provides support payments to farmers for the environmental work they carry out, has descended into chaos with 70 per cent of claimants still unpaid. Now it could take until November to clear the backlog.

Helen Williams, for the Rural Stress Network, said many farmers were on the edge.