Lib Dem leader accuses PM of 'taking North Shropshire farmers for granted'

The Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey accused the Government of "taking North Shropshire's farmers for granted" in a plea to the Prime Minister to stop cutting essential payments to farmers.

Ed Davey at Prime Minister's Questions
Ed Davey at Prime Minister's Questions

Sir Ed said farmers across North Shropshire were set to lose five per cent of their payments, starting this month.

Speaking in Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday he said: "Farmers across the country are crucial to our nation's prosperity, but many are on the brink.

"In villages such as Hodnet, Baschurch and Woodseaves they expect to see their payment cut by five per cent this very month. The Prime Minister promised a new support system based on more sustainable farming, but in the meantime he seems prepared to see farmers go bankrupt," he said.

"There is an easy solution - stop this scheme until a new one is rolled out. Will he do this before it is too late?"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that farmers did an outstanding job and that the agricultural industry was growing all the time.

"I met with farming representatives only last night, " he said.

"We will continue to support farmers and payments are continuing."

The Prime Minister said that the Government was supporting the British farming industry around the world.

"In every embassy we have experts promoting British food and farming which supports four million jobs in the country and brings in 31 billion of revenue."

The question came as the Liberal Democrats said that the total income from Shropshire farms has fallen to its lowest in ten years. In 2020, the total income from farming across the county was £76 million, down from £105 million the previous year.

The Liberal Democrat candidate in the North Shropshire by election Helen Morgan has written to farmers within the constituency asking for their views and concerns about the Government's approach to farming.

She said: “As part of my campaign I have asked hundreds of local farmers about their concerns. Time after time they have said they’re worried about the change to their payment scheme.

“We have a comprehensive plan to protect our family farmers. We’d provide support while the new payment system is being rolled out, work with our world-leading industry to produce high quality food and protect our countryside."

Sir Ed added: "The Conservatives simply don’t understand farmers. They have taken North Shropshire’s farmers for granted. They’re slashing the vital support payments when the replacement is still years away from being ready.

“Liberal Democrats back British farmers: they’re a pillar of our community in Shropshire and need support from the Government. Instead, we are seeing them desperately let down."

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