20 April 2018 | Online since 2003

5 January 2017

OFC17: Leadsom under fire for failing to guarantee same level of farming support beyond 2020

Defra's Secretary Andrea Leadsom at the Oxford Farming Conference

Defra's Secretary Andrea Leadsom has reassured farmers that they will continue to receive Government support after Britain leaves the EU.

But Leadsom, who took up the role in July after backing Brexit in the referendum, came under fire from the SNP’s Calum Kerr for failing to guarantee the level of support beyond 2020.

He pointed out that she had previously argued against farm support.

The Government has assured farmers that they will receive the same level of financial support until 2020, but has made no commitment on the level of funding after this point.

However, speaking at the annual Oxford Farming Conference, Andrea Leadsom said support would continue.

'Government needs to talk more openly'

Reacting to this, Calum Kerr, the SNP Environment and Rural Affairs spokesperson in the House of Commons, said the Government needed to talk more openly about the level of funding after 2020.

He said: "It can be a fantastic scheme but, if it’s 10 per cent of what we get today, what is that going to mean for the rural economy?"

Stuart Agnew MEP, UKIP’s agriculture spokesman insisted that the pledges that had been made were slow, lacked detail and were ill-considered.

When questioned on the matter, Farming Minister George Eustice said the Government was looking at a system which rewarded farmers rather than holding them to a long list of conditions.

Leadsom went on to stress the huge opportunities that she believed would come with Britain leaving the EU. She said the quality and high standards of British produce were a "real unique selling point around the world."

Mrs Leadsom used her keynote address to pledge to consult with farmers “in the near future” about post-Brexit policy and to cut red tape to save farmers time and money.


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