Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Farm subsidies close canals

The BBC reports:

Some of Britain's waterways may have to close amid funding cuts which have led to 180 job losses, the organisation which runs the 2,200-mile network says.

British Waterways blames the cuts on a £7m drop in its funding from Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

Defra's cost-cutting follows a £200m overspend - which it blames partly on bird flu fears and new farm subsidies

Farm subsidies do great damage to the third world, as the kickAAS blog emphasises. They have also led to the despoilation of the British countryside, as Graham Harvey's The Killing of the Countryside shows. Now they are threatening our canal system.

The way that the agricultural industry is pampered never ceases to amaze. After the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 the government compensated the farmers and allowed other rural businesses to go to the wall. The Youth Hostels Associations had to close many hostels, but there was no sign of government help for it.

Chris Huhne called today for "Defra's bungling of single farm payments" to be met from the contingency reserve. This would be an improvement if it prevents the closure of canals. But really we need to question the need for huge subsidies to farming in the first place.

2 comments:

Niles said...

I didn't realise government departments were issued with bugles. Have you let Lord Bonkers at the keyboard again?

Jonathan said...

I have been boring and changed it to "bungling".