single farm payments


Rory called yesterday in Parliament for more vigorous lobbying for British farmers in Europe in the next round of Common Agricultural Policy negotiations. In a Westminster Hall debate, the local MP highlighted the importance of payments to farmers in order to protect food production and ensure the survival of hill farming communities. He said Britain needed to intensify its diplomatic efforrts to make sure British farmers were as well supported as German and French farmers in the next round of negotiations on EU Agricultural policy. This required he said more focus from British Embassies in Europe.

Speaking in the debate he said: “Single farm payments are vital to everybody. We see that every day in Cumbria, where such payments are necessary for the support of our hill farms. The entire agricultural
economy depends on those payments.

The local MP criticised the “unacceptable” and “debilitating delays” in payments by the Rural Payments Agency and called on the Minister to press ahead with his reforms to agency systems. He also criticised
rigid and inappropriate imposition of environmental schemes, particularly on stocking levels. There needed he said to be much more commonsense and “local flexibility”.

He also spoke of the need to establish a board in Cumbria to protect Newton Rigg agricultural college from any asset-stripping and raised the recent incidence of bovine TB in Plumpton, calling for all necessary action to be taken to prevent the disease from occurring again. He commented: “It is vital that we deal with tuberculosis. Whilst it seems in this particular case to to have been caused by the movement of cows from areas that are already TB-infected, and the infection may then have spread to the badger population, any measures – including proper control of badgers – must be taken. TB in our cows is completely unacceptable.”

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