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Government under pressure to stop county councils selling off their farms

The Government is coming under increasing pressure to halt the rapid disposal of county council farms in England and Wales.


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Councils are continuing to sell off their estates
Councils are continuing to sell off their estates

NFU president Meurig Raymond told the union’s Tenant Farmers’ Conference the decisions being taken around the country were ‘short-sighted’ and called on the Government to prevent county councils from selling them.

 

He said: “This only serves to fix short-term cashflow and it is short-sighted because these farms serve an important role for the new entrants this industry urgently needs – new entrants who will be crucial in tackling long-term food security needs of the nation."

 

NFU deputy president Minette Batters said it was too easy for cash-strapped councils to sell off the ‘jewels’ and urged the Government to act fast.

 

Farming Minister George Eustice said the situation was a ‘a tragedy’ but that the Government had ‘limited tools in the box’ to stop local authorities from disposing of their holdings.

 

“The Government does not have the money to buy these farms either," said Mr Eustice.

 

“We need people to lobby their local authorities to get them to change their approach.”

 

It comes as Herefordshire County Council nears the end of its consultation on the sale of its agricultural holdings.

 

The conference also launched a new guidance document from the Association of Chief Estates Surveyors (ACES) to assist councils in running a profitable farm estate.


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