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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 May 2006, 04:19 GMT 05:19 UK
Rooker 'sorry' for subsidy woes
Lord Rooker
Lord Rooker is new to his role as farming minister
Farming Minister Lord Rooker has said he is sorry for distress caused to farmers in England by delays in paying millions of pounds in EU subsidies.

The problems were caused by the new Single Farm Payment, which was introduced to simplify the system.

Farmers now get an annual cheque, in place of subsidies on individual sales.

Around half of the 1.5bn earmarked for the scheme was sent out several months late, and thousands of farmers have still not received their payments.

Lord Rooker told the BBC's Midlands Today: "I know the distress the farmers have had. I mean it's catastrophic for some of them and I can't do more than apologise profusely."


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