Lib Dems criticizes Tories for lack of financial support for farmers in North Shropshire
The Liberal Democrats will aim to financially support farmers if they are elected in the next North Shropshire by-election.
Lib Dem constituency candidate Helen Morgan and agriculture spokesperson and former party leader Tim Farron visited Soulton Hall near Wem on Wednesday, November 24.
Speaking on the issue of agriculture, Farron said farmers in the riding were being financially abandoned by the Conservative government.
He said: “We are seeing real anger from farmers across the country. In December, farmers will lose the second part of their basic payment.
âAnd so at best the farmers of North Shropshire will have lost 10% of their income compared to the same time last year, and we have nothing to replace it.
âThe move to this new program, the environmental land management program, ELMS, in theory most farmers are probably not against, they just would like to see it.
“And how many of us could face a 10% drop in income and then get nothing?” Then the hope that maybe in the next five or six years they might get something.
“The government says the program will be widely available by 2028, but so far there is no indication that it is available at this point and farmers have not been properly consulted.”
Mr Farron has also accused the current government of “killing agriculture” by taking the industry for granted.
He added: âThe tourism economy here is largely based on the fact that the place is beautiful, but it is not beautiful by accident.
âIt’s because the landscape has been maintained for centuries by farmers.
“What the government is doing, I don’t think it is deliberately doing everything it can to kill agriculture, but I think that by taking places like this for granted, they are definitely doing it by accident, and you see family farms being killed. ”
Ms Morgan also said more needs to be done to support farmers.
“Outside the NHS [farming] is the main employer in our region, âshe added.
âObviously this is spread across many different small farms, but it’s our biggest industry.
âSo it’s really, really important to us that this thrives because we don’t want families to have to move out of the area.
âA lot of farmers have obviously diversified, we have vacation homes on a lot of farms and we’ve seen a lot of investment in raising chickens in this area because it’s a slightly different way of living on your land. .
âAnd with a big dairy industry, we have farmers who invest a lot of capital in their really high-tech milking parlors and they need that income, in many cases just to meet the funding for that investment.
“Payments are really important to them and it’s really important that we take care of them.”