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MP calls for new funding scheme to support hill farmers

January 17, 2019 11:57 AM

On the floor of the House of Commons this morning, local MP Tim Farron called on ministers to commit to a new bespoke funding scheme for upland farmers.

Currently 91% of hill farm incomes come from the Basic Payment Scheme, but the Government are planning to phase out these vital payments to farmers over the next seven years.

In response, the farming minister George Eustice defended the Government's plan to move to a system where farmers receive money on the basis of what environmental work they do.

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "Hill farmers here in Cumbria and across the country are absolutely essential to our landscape, to our food production, to biodiversity, to water management.

"The Government's seven year phasing out of direct payments will serve as nothing more than a seven-year notice to quit unless there is a proper replacement.

"Of course it's right we should support farmers to provide public goods such as environmental schemes, but to think that this could be a sustainable alternative for most hill farmers is simply naïve.

"In the coming weeks and months I will be working cross party along the NFU as part of our parliamentary group on hill farming to make the case for a new funding scheme so that upland farmers aren't thrown to the dogs."