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Ending direct payments would kill Cumbrian farming – Farron warns government

January 18, 2011 10:22 AM

Tim on a quad bike on a hill farmSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has warned Defra ministers that direct payments to farmers are essential if the government wishes to maintain a UK livestock and dairy sector.

Tim's comments are made following remarks by Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman at the Oxford Farming Conference where she said that she hoped that the reform of Common Agricultural Policy would see the end of direct payments.

Tim has raised concerns saying "If farmers got a fair price for their produce, there would be no need for direct payments and farmers wouldn't want them. The problem is that the food market is so warped by the power of supermarkets that the only way to protect farmers in the short term is to maintain direct payments. As things stand the UK imports a staggering 41% of its food and this is largely because we have allowed our farming industry to decline over the last 30 years. To be so dependent on imports is ridiculous - it's bad for our food security, bad for our economy and it's incredibly bad for the environment. For the time being at least direct payments to farmers must remain - to remove them would simply kill Cumbrian farming."