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MP expresses outrage at DEFRA's latest admissions over Single Farm Payments

June 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has expressed outrage at DEFRA's refusal to take seriously concerns about cash-flow problems being suffered by farmers whose Single Farm Payments have been delayed, as DEFRA finally admit that they are not going to make the June 30th deadline to make all payments by.

In answers to Parliamentary Questions from Tim Farron, Government minister Barry Gardiner has admitted that DEFRA started consultations with the EU about extending the June 30th deadline as early as April, and that it was always likely that not all payments would be made by the end of June.

At the same time, again in answer to Parliamentary Questions, DEFRA have refused to look at paying off the interest on loans taken out by farmers who have still not got their payments, and have admitted that they have not conducted any research into the hardship being suffered by farmers still waiting for payments.

In response to the admissions, Tim said: "Local farmers have been facing real hardship because of the Government's debacle over Single Farm Payments. To be told now that the Government is having secret talks with the EU about delaying payments further will be the final straw for many.

"It's all well and good for the Government to talk about not deflecting the Rural Payments Agency from the job of making payments as soon as possible, but something needs to be done now for farmers who are suffering real cash-flow problems or have had to take out loans to cover for the missing payments.

"It is outrageous that the Government is considering breaking the June 30th deadline, but even more outrageous that they are just going to leave local farmers in crisis in the meantime. The whole Single Farm Payments fiasco has been characterised by an attitude of 'let's hope everything's going to be ok' - this attitude has to stop now."