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Lib Dems call for increased agriculture budget after Brexit

The Liberal Democrats have called for an increased agriculture budget and the continuation of direct payments after Brexit.

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Lib Dems call for increased agriculture budget after Brexit

Tim Farron, the party’s rural affairs spokesman, made the demand during a parliamentary debate on the future of upland farming last week.

 

The Government has already committed to maintaining the same cash funds for farm support until 2022, but Mr Farron claimed this did not go far enough.

 

He said: “The ring-fencing and protecting of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget post-Brexit of £3.8 billion until 2022 is important.

 

“I have heard some Government members talk about it as a long-term commitment, but anyone who thinks four years in farming is long-term understands nothing about farming.


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“It does need to be a long-term commitment, and there needs to be a growing, not fixed, budget.”

 

Mr Farron also suggested ending direct payments of the kind given to farmers under Pillar 1 of the CAP could cause problems in future.

 

“Over the last 40-odd years, we have subsidised food in this country and we have never had a debate about whether we thought that was a good idea,” he said.

 

“But we can be certain we will feel it when we stop subsidising food. We can welcome public goods being funded, but we should all take a step back and consider what this might mean for the upland farmer.

“If we over-commodify every single thing they do, will we not be in a situation where we see the price of everything and the value of nothing?”

 

Mr Farron has previously criticised the Government’s proposed post-Brexit agricultural policy in two exclusive articles for Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub.

 

In his latest piece, he said Mr Gove’s plans looked as though they had been ‘written in an office in London to win headlines, with no thought for the real impact on rural communities’.

 

To read Mr Farron’s Brexit hub pieces in full, click HERE.

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