Clive Beddall Farming and Food Commission chairman Sir Don Curry has attacked the government for blaming EU state aid rules for its failure to fund schemes like the NFU's little red tractor. And in an exclusive interview with The Grocer this week he slammed food chain and consumer factions which had described the tractor as "dying on its feet." Sir Don said: "The government constantly uses state aid rules as the excuse. Frankly, I don't accept that. "Community state aid rules allow other EU states to support assurance schemes that do not prohibit foods from other member countries meeting the same standards. "And given it is highly unlikely that overseas producers would want to put the red tractor on their food, why shouldn't the British government give that support?" Sir Don's comments came amid mounting rumours that the tractor was suffering from a severe bout of what one well known figure described as "industry politicking" which could slow its progress. The NFU is preparing to relaunch the scheme after a review found consumers did not understand it. And the Curry report argued: "Once the structure and standards are in place, the tractor needs to be more strongly promoted to farmers, and consumers. "Establishing a brand is costly. We see a role for ongoing government funding to drive this forward, subject to state aid rules. "This funding should be matched by the industry and the levy bodies." Sir Don could not disguise his frustration this week. He went on: "Our industry is suffering more from low cost imports from around the world than any other factor. "We have to find a means of communicating the value of our food to the consumer, based on farm standards and assurance." l See Opinion, page 18. {{NEWS }}