PMQs: Ed Davey calls for help to stop farmers ‘going bankrupt’
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Farmers warn that they will see a cut of 5 percent at the least as a new support system is put in place to protect the industry following the pandemic and the ending of EU agriculture subsidies. However, Lib Dem Ed Davey warned the Government’s plan to cut old payments until a new one is put in place will see many farmers go bankrupts. Mr Davey asked what Boris Johnson would do to address the issue but was annoyed over the answer as he could be seen making gestures at him.
The UK left the EU’s common agricultural policy following Brexit which gave farmers billions of pounds in payments.
But the UK Government has introduced new subsidies to help them through the shortfall which will also help farms use more sustainable methods of farming.
Some support payments will be phased out this month, potentially leading to a five – 25 percent cut in funding, with agricultural bosses eager to hear what will replace it.
Farmers are expecting more details of financial support later this week but Mr Davey remarked many were teetering on bankruptcy before the new system is introduced.
He told the Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Farmer across the country are crucial to our nation’s prosperity.
“Shown once again through the pandemic, but many are now on the brink.
“Farmers across the country… are about to see their payments cut by at least 5 percent starting this very month.
“The Prime Minister promised that a new support system, rewarding more sustainable farming.
“But in the meantime, he seems prepared to see many British farms go bankrupt.”
Mr Davey remarked there was an “easy solution” to the situation and said payments should not be cut until the new scheme is introduced.
Mr Johnson replied: “I think British food and farming does an absolutely outstanding job and it is growing the whole time.
“Last night I met with representatives of the UK food and farming industry which we continue to support with the same levels of payments.
“What we are doing is opening up opportunities for them around the world.
“I can tell you that in every single embassy now there is a dedicated expert on supporting UK food and farming exports to the rest of the world.”
Mr Davey was seen pointing downwards to Mr Johnson, seemingly suggesting the payments were still decreasing for farmers.
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