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Farron fights for Hill Farm Allowance to protect local farmers

July 20, 2017 2:28 PM

South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has today expressed his disappointment that the DEFRA Minister Michael Gove MP refused to commit to protecting local farmers by introducing a Hill Farm Allowance. Figures show that without this support many farmers will be forced out of business.

Tim challenged the Minister to introduce the Hill Farm Allowance in the House of Commons today. He pointed out that without the subsidies currently provided by the EU, the average hill farm business income for 2015/16 was minus £10,700.

Tim called for the government to commit to introducing a specific Hill Farm Allowance, to take effect once the government stops matching the EU system. However, while Gove acknowledged the importance of hill farming, he notably failed to commit to protecting it by introducing this payment.

Tim said: "Hill farming as a sector is under enormous pressure, despite the fact that it is utterly fundamental to food security, to the protection of our environment and, indeed, to the maintenance of the landscape that has just won the Lake District world heritage site status. Yet without the right support, many farmers' futures are at risk.

"Michael Gove is letting hill farmers down by failing to commit to providing support for the industry in the form of a Hill Farm Allowance. The government offers farmers warm words but is reluctant to actually take the steps needed to secure the future of the industry.

"Farmers need to know now what will happen in a few years' time, so they can make decisions about investment and plan for the future. Gove must not keep our hardworking hill farmers in the dark."