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Farron calls on Minister to reform CAP to support farmers 'on less than minimum wage'

May 21, 2009 12:00 AM

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should be reformed to allow farm payments to be targeted directly at Britain's hard working and underpaid farmers according to Liberal Democrat Shadow Defra Secretary Tim Farron MP.

Speaking today in the House of Commons, Mr Farron challenged Secretary of State Hilary Benn MP to help the 15,000 farmers in the UK who are currently earning less than £10,000 a year by re-examining the way single farm payments are made.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"15,000 farmers in this country are earning under £10,000 per year, which is less than the minimum wage. Yet our single farm payments system continues to direct money at wealthy estates that don't need the money and wastes £7million a year on administrating and making tiny payments of less than £250 a year to people who aren't really farmers.

"The CAP always has been inefficient at providing ongoing support to farmers, but in the present economic climate it is scandalous and an insult to hard pressed farmers.

"Farmers don't want to be given subsidies, but they do want to receive a fair payment for their hard work, which is why we need a CAP which is modern, fairer and supports family farms.

"Cutting out the thousands of tiny claims from non-farmers and reducing some of the largest claims from wealthy estates would allow more farmers to get their payments on time and would provide much needed support to our hardworking and underpaid farmers."