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General Election 2017: What are the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Green Party promising?

With the general election now just a matter of weeks away, the main political parties have set out their polices on agriculture and the environment. 

 

We’ve weeded out the relevant promises so you don’t have to...

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Main political parties set out their farming stalls ahead of #GE2017

The Conservatives are pledging to:

The Conservatives are pledging to:
  • Commit to funding farm support until 2022
  • Work with farmers, ‘environmental experts’ and the devolved administrations to create a new agri-environment system, to be introduced in the following parliament

 

  • Make CCTV recording in slaughterhouses mandatory
  • ‘Control’ the export of live farm animals for slaughter
  • Help Natural England extend their technical advice to farmers as they deliver environmental improvements
  • Produce a 25-year Environment Plan to ‘chart how to improve the environment as we leave the EU’
  • Grant a free vote (where MPs can vote with their conscience and not according to party lines) on fox hunting
  • Improve natural flood management
  • Protect public forests and ancient woodland
  • Enhance the provision of public services such as Post Offices, pharmacies, schools and banking services in rural areas
  • Invest in broadband
  • Reform the business rates system, making sure revaluations are conducted more frequently
  • Increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020, and then by the rate of median earnings
  • Deliver a smooth and orderly departure from the EU
  • Strike trade deal with the EU which minimises barriers to trade
  • Secure new trade deals with other countries
  • Increase the decision-making powers of devolved administrations, but keep common frameworks in ‘some areas’ to prevent erection of trade barriers in the UK
  • Increase spending on research and development
  • Develop the shale gas industry

The Labour Party is pledging to:

The Labour Party is pledging to:
  • Promote ‘cruelty-free’ animal husbandry and consult on ways to ensure ‘better enforcement’ of agreed standards
  • Extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator
  • ‘Reconfigure funds’ for farming to support smaller traders, local economies, community benefits and sustainable practices
  • Ban neonicotinoids ‘as soon as our EU relationship allows us to do so’
  • Stop the badger cull, ‘which spreads bovine TB’
  • Establish a ‘science innovation fund’ to work with farmers
  • Re-instate the Agricultural Wages Board
  • Keep bans on fox hunting, deer hunting and hare coursing
  • Allow EU workers employed in farming and food manufacturing to remain in the UK and re-instate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme
  • Reflect the different ways rural councils deliver public services in funding allocation mechanisms
  • ‘Consider differences’ of rural areas in a re-evaluation of business rate schemes
  • Introduce a ‘rural-proofing process’ so all laws, policies and programmes consider their impact on rural communities
  • End Post Office closures
  • Provide a ‘full range of banking services in every community’
  • Invest in rural broadband, 4G extensions, housing and transport
  • Invest in ‘better flood management’ and give Fire and Rescue Services a statutory duty to respond to floods
  • Defend and extend existing environmental protections
  • Plant a million trees

The Liberal Democrats are pledging to:

The Liberal Democrats are pledging to:
  • Reform farm payments, moving away from direct subsidy and towards support for ‘public goods’
  • Encourage new entrants to farming by ‘championing’ different forms of ownership including longer tenancies, share farming, and community ownership
  • Introduce a ‘National Food Strategy’ to promote the production of healthy, sustainable and affordable food
  • Extend the Groceries Code Adjudicator remit
  • Update farm animal welfare codes and promote the responsible stewardship of antibiotic drugs
  • Ensure future trade deals require high safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for food imports
  • Suspend the use of neonicotinoids until ‘it is proven they do not harm bees or other pollinators’
  • Develop ‘safe, effective, humane, and evidence-based’ ways of controlling bovine TB, including by investing in vaccines
  • Ban fracking
  • Set legally binding targets to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2040 and to zero by 2050
  • Restore government support for solar PV and onshore wind
  • Establish a £2bn flood prevention fund and improve existing flood defences
  • Set legally binding ‘natural capital targets’ on biodiversity, clean air and water
  • Protect England’s lakes, rivers and wetlands through reform of water management and higher water efficiency standards
  • Plant a tree for every UK citizen over the next ten years

Plaid Cymru is pledging to:

Plaid Cymru is pledging to:
  • Push the UK Government to maintain the same level of European funding for farming, including direct payments
  • Press for the UK Government to seek endorsement of each UK country before signing any trade deals

 

  • Reform the Red Meat Levy so funding for Hybu Cig Cymru stays in Wales
  • ‘Update and consolidate’ Welsh wildlife legislation with a new Wildlife Act for Wales
  • Introduce a new Climate Change Act, adopting ‘ambitious’ greenhouse gas and pollution reduction targets for 2030 and 2050

The Green Party is pledging to:

The Green Party is pledging to:
  • Implement an Environmental Protection Act
  • Invest in flood defences and natural flood management
  • Restore the uplands
  • Create more sustainable farming and land-use policies which focus on restoring the UK’s natural environment, including helping farmers grow food in a way that helps soil recover
  • Ensure that re-use and recycle is at the heart of the economy

 

  • Move towards an ecologically sustainable farming system – support family farms and re-localise food production, supporting local village communities
  • Improve animal welfare and animal protection
  • Refocus public funding for the rural economy
  • Create a new environmental regulator and court

The SNP and UKIP have yet to release their manifestos. We will update this article as and when they do.

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