Anne Bruce The government has been more generous than first expected to the farming and food industries in its spending review, said Sir Don Curry. He said: "I am cautiously optimistic the government has given Defra the resources it needs to deliver measures that will stimulate the market and improve the farming industry's focus on providing solutions to fit the market. "The settlement is much better than we thought it might be a few months ago ­ a reward for intensive lobbying by food chain groups." He said that although £200m funding for implementing broad and shallow environmental schemes recommended in the Curry report had been delayed until 2005-06, he had been assured spending would go on beyond the three years covered by the spending review. But CAP reform may yet mean Defra funds are diverted away from implementing the plans outlined in the spending review. Curry said: "There is an issue with CAP. It is difficult to predict how proposals will be implemented. The changes Fischler recommends are in line with the Curry report, but there is immense detail to be agreed. Our own proposals and Treasury provisions could be influenced by Brussels." Other parts of the industry welcomed the review. A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union said: "Overall we are probably relieved but as usual we will not be able to say for sure until we have checked out the detail." Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said: "We welcome the financial support given to implement the Curry Commission recommendations. "We expect the Chancellor's statement to clear the way for an agreement on a detailed and positive organic action plan ­ addressing all levels of the industry ­ later this month." Full details of how Defra plans to spend the money allocated will not be available until the autumn. {{NEWS }}