£138m gov­ern­ment boost will help farms to di­ver­sify

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - BUSINESS -

FARM­ERS could ben­e­fit from gov­ern­ment funds to di­ver­sify.

Ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties across the UK will have ac­cess to £138 mil­lion to cre­ate jobs and boost the ru­ral econ­omy.

Farm­ing­min­is­terGe­orge Eus­tice made the an­nounce­ment on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 12, which will give lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties power to sup­port projects in their own area.

Projects pre­vi­ously funded in­clude vil­lages ben­e­fit­ing from her­itage fund­ing to boost tourism, farm­ers diver­si­fy­ing into farm shops, ice cream par­lours and camp­ing sites and lo­cal food pro­duc­ers of cheese and meats sup­ported to ex­pand their prod­uct lines.

Mr Eus­tice said: “We want to grow our ru­ral econ­omy which is why we’re mak­ing fund­ing avail­able to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties so they can in­vest in projects to bring more jobs and en­ter­prise to their ar­eas.”

In the 2007-2013 Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme, Town Farm in Iv­inghoe, in the Chiltern Hills, re­ceived fund­ing to ex­pand its busi­ness and is now wel­com­ing guests to its camp­ing and car­a­van­ning site each year.

Farmer Keith Ben­nett, of Chiltern Farm Food in Coleshill, said: “The gov­ern­ment needs to make sure that the money reaches the farm­ers who ac­tu­ally need it and doesn’t go to con­sul­tants. We have a 150-acre small farm and we would not be here to­day if we had not di­ver­si­fied. There is no way we could have sur­vived. Su­per­mar­kets want to buy from the big­ger pro­duc­ers. Diver­si­fy­ing has kept us go­ing.”

Mr Ben­nett’s farm has a farm shop and each week­end sells pro­duce at var­i­ous farm­ers’ mar­kets.

The gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach builds on Au­gust’s an­nounce­ment of the Gov­ern­ment’s first Ru­ral Pro­duc­tiv­ity Plan which hopes to see the gov­ern­ment work closely with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to al­low the ru­ral econ­omy to grow. HUN­DREDS of in Buck­ing­hamshire are un­der threat as Red Bull threat­ens to quit the For­mula 1 cham­pi­onship.

The team’s fac­tory at Mil­ton Keynes may close if the de­ci­sion goes ahead.

The Red Bull chief tech­ni­cal of­fi­cer, Adrian Newey, said the team may quit F1 be­cause re­la­tions with cur­rent en­gine sup­plier Re­nault have bro­ken down and ri­val man­u­fac­tur­ers are “too fear­ful” of sup­ply­ing them with en­gines.

jobs

“Red Bull have so far been un­able to find a new part­ner.

“We’re pos­si­bly go­ing to be forced out of For­mula 1 – Mercedes and Fer­rari have re­fused to sup­ply us out of fear,” Mr Newey added.

Seven hun­dred jobs at the team’s Mil­ton Keynes fac­tory are at stake.

Newey said the team would take a de­ci­sion on whether to race in 2016 well be­fore the end of the year “be­cause de­sign and manufacturing lead times are such that you need to know what you’re putting in the car”.

With Re­nault’s de­ci­sion to stop pro­vid­ing en­gines to F1, Newey says Mercedes and Fer­rari have re­neged on prom­ises to step in and sup­ply Red Bull be­cause “they be­came con­cerned we would beat them with their own en­gine”.

Cur­rently, the only other en­gine provider in F1 is Honda, which sup­plies the McLaren team – but Newey says even that op­tion is sub­ject to a McLaren veto.

Farmer Keith Ben­nett

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