The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has retaliated to calls from NFU England that more needs to be done to safeguard the nation’s food security.
In an online blog Defra said: “We understand that farmers are facing increasing costs as a result of the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine and global economic shocks including the spike in oil and gas prices, and have announced a range of measures throughout the course of the year to help mitigate these challenges and support industry.
"The UK’s food supply chain remains resilient, with supply from diverse sources guaranteeing a high level of food security.”
They went on to state that whilst the UK had a ‘high degree of food security’ from a diverse range of sources which includes ‘imports through stable trade routes.’
The blog then went onto list a dozen actions they have taken to support food security. Defra stated:
Brought forward 50% of direct payments earlier this year
Delayed proposed changes in the use of urea fertiliser back
Brought forward new slurry storage grants
Continued the roll out of the Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme which has seen over 4000 applications started
Removed the 25% tariff on US maize imports
Brought in The Energy Bill Relief scheme
Cut fuel duty for petrol and diesel by 5p per litre across the UK until March 2023
Reduced employer national insurance by increasing the Employment Allowance
Stopped bill increases by freezing the business rates multiplier, worth £9.3 billion over the next five years.
Relaxed marketing rules so that farmers who breed turkeys, geese or ducks for their meat have the option to slaughter their flocks early and freeze these products
Brought in swifter compensation payments to farmers affected by avian influenza
Released an extra 10,000 visas under the Seasonal Worker Visa Route, with 2,000 of these going to the poultry sector, meaning in total 40,000 visas are available for seasonal workers in 2022.