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Defra pair should be ashamed; VOICE OF THE NORTH.

A FEW years ago, as a representative of the National Farmers Union, I had the unfortunate occasion of meeting Elliot Morley MP, then junior minister with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A smug man, he presided over the many penalties imposed on farmers for small mistakes in their support claims.

These offenders, presumed guilty from the start, were handed penalties by the Rural Payments Agency in an unforgiving way. His successor at the top of Defra, Margaret Beckett MP, presided over that same ministry that has just been fined pounds 200m for the delays in administering her ludicrously complicated Single Payment Scheme.

No matter what the public feels on farm support, that same pounds 200m would be better distributed around Britain instead of back in the European Parliament's pocket.

These two individuals, whose expenses' claims have now been called into question, should hang their heads in shame and crawl back under what ever stone they came out of.

STOKER FRATER, Council Delegate, Northumberland National Farmers' Union, Alnwick, Northumberland
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 21, 2009
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