Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has welcomed calls from the Environment Select Committee to return to the former system of headage payments to support struggling hill farmers.
Currently hill farmers can apply for funding to support the management of their farms through the Uplands Entry Level Stewardship Scheme based on the size of their holdings. However, many farmers have complained that it is too hard to make claims under this system and as a result take up has been significantly lower than the former Hill Farm Allowance.
By reintroducing headage payments, which are funds paid based on the number of animals held rather than the size of the holdings, the Environment committee believe it will it will be easier for Uplands farmers to make claims, will encourage increased output and will help to preserve the landscape of the countryside.
Speaking today Tim said: "Cumbria is the home to a huge numbers of hill farmers, many of whom have struggled in recent years following the Foot and Mouth outbreak to replenish their farms and rebuild their livelihoods.
"I wholeheartedly believe that a return to headage payments will provide the support these farmers need to diversify into new areas and reward them for the hard work they put into British agriculture while helping to preserve their way of life."
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