U/East Anglia: Farmers’ leaders delight at ‘sweet’ sugar deal struck in Strasbourg

British Sugar begin processing this season's beet.

British Sugar begin processing this season's beet.

FARMERS’ leaders have expressed delight after MEPs voted to extend the European Union sugar regime.

MEPs in Strasbourg have voted in favour of an extension until the end of the 2019/2020 marketing year.

The vote in the European Parliament was one of a number of major changes to the European Commission’s controversial Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform proposals.

National Farmers’ Union sugar board chairman William Martin welcomed the result of the vote which supported the continuation of the right to collective negotiation for growers.

“In a market like the UK where there is only one processor of sugar beet, growers need to be represented and a balance of power preserved to ensure a fair deal is reached,” he said.

British Sugar has sugar beet factories across East Anglia and the East Midlands, including at Bury St Edmunds.

The vote this week marks an important milestone in the CAP reform proposals including the sugar regime.

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It provides the European Parliament with a formal mandate to go into negotiations with the other institutions.

Mr Martin said: “I now call on the Council and UK Government to follow the important lead set by the European Parliament and ensure that UK growers’ interests are protected by ensuring they support the continuation of the right for collective negotiation beyond 2015.”

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