Government undermining Cumbria’s farmers will lead to soaring food costs – MP

In Parliament last night, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron warned that the Government’s move to undermine farmers will make the price of food rise even further for local families.

Speaking during a debate on poverty and the cost of food, Tim said the Government’s decision to cut the Basic Payment Scheme before the replacement Environmental Land Management Scheme is up and running, is forcing farmers out of business.

Tim said: “I am desperately concerned that what Britain is doing at the moment with its agricultural policy is reducing the amount of food that we produce, which will inevitably increase the cost of that food.

“The Government’s transition from the common agricultural policy to the environmental land management scheme would actually be one of that rare, rare species – a Brexit benefit – if it was done properly, but it is not being done properly. In my constituency, we have a thousand farms.

“All of them will lose at least 35% of their basic payment this year. Two per cent. of them have qualified for the new sustainable farming incentive.

“We need to pause the phase-out of the basic payment scheme, so we can protect our farmers and stop the eradication of our ability to produce food.

“If we lose farmers, we lose not only our ability to look after our environment, our natural landscapes and our biodiversity, but our ability to produce food.

Meanwhile, Tim also challenged the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, Lee Anderson MP, on controversial claims he had made during the debate that some families are “abusing” foodbanks because he “sees them in McDonalds”.

Tim said: “One thing I can say about food poverty is that there is something worse than being in poverty and that is to be made to feel guilty about being in poverty. There is something worse than virtue signalling: vice signalling.

“There is something better than both: actual practical virtue. So I want to praise my food banks and the food share schemes in Westmorland and Lonsdale and elsewhere in Cumbria.”

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