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Local Liberal Democrats want to protect Medway farmers and maintain our food standards

May 9, 2022 11:15 AM
By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

farm 5 farm 3New analysis reveals farming income in the South of England has fallen by £61 million in just one year. The Government's new overseas trade deals have been partly blamed for the hit to our region's farming industry and farmers are now coping with spiralling costs.

To improve the lives and purses of Medway's farmers and consumers, we are developing policies to improve food and farming, We are looking at the future of farming and fishing, food security and supply chains, food poverty, nutrition and healthy eating, food production and animal welfare. British farmers and food producers are amongst the best in the world and they are ready to deliver high quality, sustainable food produced in harmony with the environment and animal welfare. Yet time and time again this Conservative Government has badly let down farmers and rural communities. This is a pivotal moment for farmers with food security never a more important issue than today.

farm 4 farm 1Alan Wells, spokesperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said: 'It is time politicians spoke up for rural communities who urgently need help and support. Medway Liberal Democrats want to listen and engage with local farmers who have been taken for granted by the Conservative party. We are determined to campaign for our local the farming industry, buying Medway produce and encouraging others to do the same has always been important to Liberal Democrats. We have always backed British farmers, recently proposing new legislation to protect them from being undercut by deals with countries with lower environmental and animal welfare standards than the UK.

One of the many things that makes Medway so special is its rich agricultural heritage, it is part of who we are. We want to increase support, reduce bureaucracy and open up new markets, to ensure that Medway's agricultural industries have a positive future. There's a real need to ensure that rural and agricultural voices are heard and Medway Liberal Democrats want that conversation. Our goal is to give new hope to communities in every corner of Medway and Kent."

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Leader said: "We want to champion the farming community and animal welfare. The Tories simply don't understand farmers - they have taken them for granted for too long. The Government's trade deals aren't worth the paper they are written on and a betrayal of rural communities. In recent months I have visited farms and rural communities across the country and heard farm 2real anger at this Government.

Some farmers even risk losing up to half their entire income as the Government is blundering their way towards a new Environmental Land Management scheme. I am deeply concerned that family farming businesses are at risk as the Tories continue to botch our transition away from the EU agricultural system. Liberal Democrats support this new scheme, but the Tories are being much to slow - they are stubborn and out of touch with farmers. Meanwhile, they're failing to commit to maintaining our high animal welfare and environmental standards for imported foods.

This would allow foreign imports to undercut responsible British farmers. Liberal Democrats back Farmers are the guardians of our landscape, they are the stewards of our countryside and vital allies in tackling the climate and ecological crises. The Liberal Democrats are committed to maintaining the beauty and biodiversity of our countryside which is why we want to ensure public money goes towards public goods like restoring our peat bogs, creating new natural flood protections and managing land to encourage species recovery. But the Tories risk forcing our family farmers out of business meaning we lose the very people who need to deliver these public goods."

Our national Liberal Democrats back British farmers campaign:

We would ensure food imports from trade deals meet the UK's high animal welfare and environmental standards. Maintain existing farm payments in full until the new Environmental Land Management scheme is fully rolled out. Enhance and protect the British countryside by supporting the farmers who manage the landscape.

Source: Total income from farming for the regions of England - 1st March.

We know that the farming industry is crucial to our local prosperity, that's why we will stand up for Medway's farming communities abandoned and taken for granted by the Conservatives.

ENDS

Notes for Editors and additional text:

The move comes days after NFU President Minette Batters criticised the latest trade deal with Australia and said the government has shown a "total lack of understanding of how food production works", introduced "completely contradictory policies" on farming, and risks "repeatedly running into crises". Speaking at last week's NFU conference she said: "We need a plan that pre-empts crises, rather than repeatedly runs into them … this country needs a strategy and a clear vision for what we expect from British farming. "We have completely contradictory government policies. It is raising the bar for environmental standards at home but pursuing trade deals which support lower standards overseas."

Nationally, Liberal Democrats have proposed new legislation to protect British farmers from being undercut by food trade deals that do not meet the UK's environment and animal welfare standards.The plans, set out in a private member's bill from former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, would require the government's Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of any new trade deal on UK farmers, and guarantee that MPs had the final say on trade deals initialled by the government. This would include an assessment of the impact of new trade deals on farming communities in each region and nation of the UK.

Without farmers we cannot hope to tackle the climate crisis or recover our depleted natural environment. We need to be protecting them, not selling them out for a quick trade deal." Mr Farron added that farmers had been let down by the Conservatives. "They've failed to ensure that our world-leading standards are not eroded in the new trade deals they're signing, risking our farmers' livelihoods," he said.