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Farron: Minister's speech ignores real issues facing farmers

January 4, 2017 5:30 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has accused the government of completely overlooking the biggest issues facing farmers, following a speech today by the DEFRA Minister on the future of the UK farming industry.

In a speech to industry leaders at the Oxford Farming Conference today, Andrea Leadsom talked about reducing the burden of red tape on farmers, but failed to offer any certainty about access to the single market or the future of farm subsidies post-2020.

Tim said: "Farmers face an uncertain future, but Andrea Leadsom's speech today failed to say anything about the two most important issues facing the industry. Farmers want to know whether they will still have tariff-free access to the single market post-Brexit, and what farm support payments will be available post-2020. Leadsom's speech provided answers to neither of these questions.

"Ambitious speeches about increasing exports will mean nothing if farmers are faced with a 50% tariff on beef and a 30% tariff on lamb to sell into their biggest export market. 40% of the lamb and mutton produced in the UK is sold in the EU, and Cumbrian hill farmers are understandably concerned about what will happen if the UK leaves the single market. Farmers deserve certainty so they can plan ahead and invest - the government must answer their concerns."