Why the Liberal Democrats campaigning to back British Farmers

Liberal Democrat agricultural spokesperson Tim Farron explains why his party is launching a campaign to Back British Farmers.

British farmers have been let down by the Conservatives. They’ve been promised that British standards will not be undermined, yet this hasn’t been guaranteed in law.

They’ve been promised that levels of funding will be maintained, yet the transition will see huge amounts of income lost.

And the Government is still expecting our farmers to be the stewards of our landscape, and work with us to cut emissions and help maintain and improve our natural environment – but if they’re not careful there won’t be any farmers left.

Family farmers are the backbone of our countryside, and that’s why the Liberal Democrats are launching a campaign to ‘Back British Farmers.’

Protect

Alongside launching this campaign, I am introducing a Ten Minute Rule Bill in Parliament to create a new environmental and agricultural regulator, to better protect our farmers and our natural environment.

The Conservatives have pledged to create a new ‘Office for Environmental Protection’ (OEP) as part of their Environment Bill.

This would enforce environmental standards, but not agricultural ones, and lacks teeth to force the Government to act if they’re found in breach.

Furthermore, they first pledged to create this regulator in 2018 and we still don’t know for sure when it will become law.

Teeth

Our regulator will have those teeth, it will ensure that the Government can be held to account, but it also goes further.

It will have responsibility for ensuring that trade deals meet UK standards on environmental protection and animal welfare – protecting our farmers from cheap, poor quality food made to significantly lower standards.

British family farmers are vital in the fight against the climate and nature crises.

We need our farmers to help plant trees, build natural flood defences and restore peat bogs, all while producing food for our tables and protecting our countryside.

Botching

The new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) should incentivise farmers to do all these things, but the Government is botching the transition.

They’ve already started phasing out farmers payments without even making it clear what things farmers will be rewarded for doing.

This risks farmers having no choice but to make poor environmental choices in order to maximise income to survive the transition – the very opposite of what the Tories want.

Worse still, many farmers will be contemplating leaving the industry entirely, robbing us of the stewards of our landscape we need.

The Liberal Democrats have realised what is wrong.

Understand

The Tories simply do not understand farmers or farming communities and the vital importance of the work they do.

They’re stubbornly pressing ahead without listening to the very people they’re relying on to assist them.

This is particularly short-sighted as the extol the virtues of nature-based solutions to the climate emergency in the run up to COP26 in Glasgow.

Liberal Democrats understand British farmers, and that’s why we’re launching our campaign to ‘Back British Farmers’ and will continue to fight to protect them from the damage the Conservatives want to do.

Without British farmers, the race to solve the climate and nature crises will be lost.

* Tim Farron is Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Agriculture and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

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3 Comments

  • Good to see Tim dealing effectively with a real issue in the real world. A pity more Liberal Democrat’s don’t do that.

  • Barry Lofty 30th Apr '21 - 4:42pm

    Yes a good cause, but in my lifetime down here in the wealthy South I cannot help but notice the number of blue vote Tory placards which seem to adorn farmers fields at every election, perhaps the farmers are different in other parts of the country but I am sure Tim Farron can win them over because they are another important industry that the present government are, seemingly, about to let down.

  • Helen Dudden 1st May '21 - 6:45pm

    British Wool is an undervalued product. I’ve been buying shoes made from wool as it helps to keep feet more comfortable. Clothing made from wool , again is more comfortable to wear. I use it to stuff cushion liners and buy locally produced wool on line.
    Carpets have always been a luxury made from wool.
    I think anyone with an an inflammation with joint issues, will have the same good responses to a natural product.
    I still don’t understand why British Wool is not used more within industry. Wool is good to insulate and will not pollute like many man made products.

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