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Farron re-elected chair of parliamentary hill farming group

November 28, 2014 2:32 PM

TF ruralWestmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron was yesterday re-elected chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming. The group met to discuss issues facing Hill Farmers over the past 6 months.

The group was addressed by Robin Milton, Chair of the NFU's Hill and Upland Farming Group. He spoke about recent figures on income for upland farmers, CAP delivery and Defra's switch to a digital registration and delivery system for farm payments.

Recent figures from the Farm Business Income Survey found that Hill farmers only earned an average of £14,500 - a salary that includes recompense, capital in business, and working hours contributed by the family. In stark comparison, dairy farmers earn an average of £90,000 a year. Members of the group expressed concern about this finding.

The group also discussed issues and complications that may arise from Defra's fast-approaching switch to an online system for farm payment applications.

Tim said: "It's an honour to be re-elected chair of the APPG, and I'll continue to keep fighting our farmers' corner.

"Although the income for Hill Farmers has risen from a shocking low of £5,000 in 2009/10, there is still much to do to ensure they earn a fair wage for the extremely important work they do to steward and protect our beautiful British landscapes.

"The switch to Defra's digital delivery system is something I will be keeping a very close eye on, as this is a huge change in the way the system is administrated. Many Hill Farmers I know don't even have a broadband connection able to handle the Defra website."

"I and other members of the APPG will be writing to the Secretary of State in the near future to request a meeting on these important issues."