The UK's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced an £8m (US$14.1m) package of support for English beef at a meeting of the industry's top figures.

Farming Minister Lord Bach told a high-level meeting of farmers, processors and retailers that Defra's support showed it is committed to a strong future for English beef.

The package includes £5.5m for a beef restoration programme aimed at getting the market for English beef back to normal as soon as possible after European exports resume early next year.

A further £1m will be spent on a scheme to help farmers get the maximum profit from their produce and £1.5m over two years will go to the Red Meat Industry Forum, designed to help farmers improve their efficiency.

"Despite the current short-term difficulties in the industry, we want to send a signal today that the sector can have a prosperous and sustainable future and we have collectively expressed our commitment today to the future of the beef industry in this country," a joint statement agreed by everyone at the meeting read.