Issues facing people in rural Shropshire 'not highlighted in election campaign'

Key issues facing people in rural communities in Shropshire have not been highlighted in the general election campaign, according to those living and working in the county.

Agriculture and climate change were among the concerns of people living in rural parts of Shropshire as they head to the polling stations for tomorrow's General Election.

Henry Yates, who has been farming in rural Shropshire for 51 years, said he was disappointed with the lack of discussion surrounding the future of British farming by all the political parties over the past month.

"I am disappointed that agriculture is not featured more in the campaign as well as other things the parties are concerned about," he said.

"Everyday people need food and the future of that is uncertain. County farming is so important.

"As a farmer I need to trade as well, and trade successfully. So I am concerned that if, and when, we come out of the European Union, a good system of trade is vital."

Mr Yates, of Manor Farm in Middleton Scriven, Bridgnorth, said that trade issues following Brexit need to be discussed, equally as much as discussions surrounding hospitals and education are.

He added: "30 per cent of UK sheep production is exported to Europe and if that did not continue we would have problems.

"We have some of the highest standards in the world and we must have successful agriculture.

"I have not really seen any of the parties talk about agriculture or food production at all. One way or the other I want to see a clear majority. A hung parliament would be a disaster in my view.

"I have nothing but praise for the NHS, but it always gets highlighted in campaigns."

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Similarly, Stu Vickers, chairman of Whitchurch Young Farmers Group, said there has been a lack of farming discussion on the political campaign trail.

He said: "It has kind of been swept under the carpet. The main issue our members raised was Brexit really, and the uncertainty surrounding it.

"Especially with trade deals and issues that follow. The agricultural side of things, they have not really talked about it."

David Luckhurst, an activist from Bishop's Castle, said issues surrounding climate change and the environment were not discussed enough both nationally and locally.

"I have watched a lot of debates on television and I attended the local hustings in Ludlow," he said.

"Apart from a couple of sweeping mentions, it was hardly discussed.

"We all have got to change individually, but the government has to drive this. Their current emission reduction targets are way too late - 2050 will be 20 years too late in my opinion."

David said the candidates from Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats were not as strong as the action proposed by candidates from the Green Party.

"South Shropshire is very much based on agriculture, tourism and forestry," he added.

"Forget Brexit, it is a pimple on the side of the world compared to climate change. We should be voting on who will help the most."

He said the main issues facing voters in south Shropshire was the cuts in rural bus services, the shortage of electrical charging points and lack of low cost housing.

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