Ahead of the launch of the Uplands Inquiry at the North West Rural Affairs Forum in Kendal this week, newly appointed Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron has warned that urgent action is needed to protect hill farmers.
Commenting Mr Farron said:
"It doesn't take an inquiry to work out that as it stands the draft replacement for the hill farming allowance does not protect hill farmers.
"On average the hill farming allowance makes up a quarter of a hill farmers' income.
"The proposed new scheme (the Upland Entry Level Scheme) is far too restrictive to allow many hill farmers to qualify. The proposed rules are excessive and will leave most hill farmers at risk of losing their funding.
"Hill farmers are already living off extremely low incomes and are unable to get fair prices for their products. Raising funding from its current level of a paltry £23million is a must.
"DEFRA needs to be a supporter of hill farming. If Hilary Benn doesn't listen and make the scheme accessible then the future of hill farming is bleak."
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