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Only a quarter of flood recovery payments made to farmers

October 21, 2016 5:09 PM

Only a quarter of the total funds promised to farmers to recover from the floods last winter have been paid out, figures uncovered by South Lakes MP Tim Farron show.

Following last winter's floods, the Farming Recovery Fund was set up to provide grants of up to £20,000 to farmers to help them restore damaged agricultural land. Over £9million of funding was approved for this scheme, designed to support over 1000 projects.

However, a parliamentary question by Tim has led to the admission by the DEFRA Farming Minister George Eustice that only around a quarter of this total has currently been paid out. Only 338 farmers have so far received their payments, coming to a total of just £2,306,386.

Applicants have until the end of December 2016 to carry out restoration work and claim for it under the scheme.

Tim said: "Farms across Cumbria and the North of England were devastated by last winter's floods, which ruined hedges, fences and walls, destroyed drainage systems, and left fields unworkable. Farmers have had to shell out vast sums to make their land fit to use again, and it is shocking that the government has not pulled its weight in providing support. Excessive bureaucracy is preventing farmers accessing the funds they need. The government must urgently work with farmers to make sure they get the funds they are entitled to."