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Hill farmers kept in poverty by red tape

May 12, 2011 9:14 AM

TF ruralResearch obtained by South Lakes MP Tim Farron, who is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary group on Hill Farming, shows that many hill farmers don't apply for the Upland Entry Level Scheme (UELS) because of excessive red tape. Many also don't apply because their landlords simply will not allow them to.

Of the hill farmers that do not apply for the UELS, 25% gave the reason as being the complexity of the application process, whilst a further 10% said that their landlords wouldn't allow them to apply. Hill farmers have some of the lowest incomes in the country - the average hill farmer in 2009 earned just £5,000.

Commenting, Mr. Farron said: "It's good to see that most farmers who can benefit from hill farm support have received the payments they deserve, but this research is worrying. Many hill farmers face serious poverty - it is wrong that many who could benefit from this essential funding are squeezed out by red tape. Even worse is the revelation that some hill farmers are prevented by their landlords from applying. In some cases, this could be the difference between a making decent living and bankruptcy."