Fresh Blow for Pork Industry: The Week that Was September 20 to 26, 1999

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BRITAIN’S crisis-hit pig industry was dealt a massive blow this week, as a second multi-million pound aid package left them out in the cold.

Ten months after struggling pig farmers learned they would get nothing out of a £120m package aimed at relieving the suffering of the country’s hard-hit farmers, they discovered they would receive not a penny of £150m in new emergency support announced by agriculture minister Nick Brown. The biggest share was designated to hill farmers.

“We have no idea why the government wants to kill the pig industry,” said Digby Scott of the British Pig Industry Support Group. “All of us want to see assistance given to the sheep and beef sectors, but their problems are no more serious than ours… If we got the same money as them it might save us.”

North Yorkshire pig farmer Stewart Houston said: “Many significant pig producers I know are working their way to get out of pigs. They are fortunate they have a choice. A lot of smaller works haven’t got that choice, and soon the decision will be made for them.”

A ground-breaking pilot scheme offering more support to violent parents during police investigations was to be tested in Leeds.

The Refocus project aimed to root out the cause of violence and then help the families – a multi-agency strategy which experts believed would reduce the likelihood of repeat attacks.

“(The scheme) is partly to keep children out of care and to remain in the family,” said Ruth Woodhead, assistant director of social services. “If we can get the family working, that is a far better way forward.”

It was revealed this week that Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy planned to outflank Labour on the Constitution by announcing a campaign designed to secure assemblies for the English regions.

As Lib Dem delegates arrived in Harrogate for their annual conference, Mr Kennedy told The Yorkshire Post there was a growing momentum in favour of devolution – and he rejected suggestions that there was no enthusiasm for it among ordinary people.

He said he wanted to encourage business leaders, churchmen and academics as well as Lib Dem MPs to come together in alliances akin to the Scottish Constitutional Convention which laid the ground for the Scottish Parliament during the early 1990s.

A controversial new contraceptive implant which lasted for three years was to be made available first to women in Yorkshire.

Implanon had previously hit the headlines when a respected family planning expert had suggested that girls as young as 12 could be fitted with it at the same time as they were given their German measles vaccination.

More than 100 family planning doctors from this region had now completed training in the fitting of the implant under the skin on the inside of the upper arm.

In foreign news, a multinational peacekeeping force had landed in East Timor in an attempt restore law and order to the territory.

Violence had broken out 
and escalated into a state of emergency, when its people 
voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia on September 4.

State militias apparently backed by the army were thought to have killed thousands of people since then.

However members of the UN International Force for East Timor said the army was now co-operating with the peacekeepers.

The first wave of what would be 8,000 forces from 20 countries – including British Royal Marines – had touched down in the capital, Dili.