Demands to voice need for farming 'rescue package' in Queen's Speech

The Liberal Democrats have called for a 'rescue package' for farmers and rural businesses following years of a Conservative government.

Yesterday (9 May) the party demanded a new support package to be included in this year's Queen's Speech, taking place today, with Prince Charles standing in for the Queen.

It follows a rural backlash against the Conservatives, as the party saw a loss of 500 council seats at the recent local elections.

Farmers are increasingly concerned over the government's future agriculture policy, as many fear an undercutting of the UK's high-standards in food production.

Farmers don’t deserve to be undercut by damaging new trade deals and the slashing of farm payments.

Industry groups are also worried over growing worker shortages, as well as increased red tape and delays at borders.

The Liberal Democrats said the Queen’s Speech should address these, as well as other 'glaring issues' being faced by people living in the countryside.

It calls on the government to introduce its proposed farming bill designed to protect farmers from being undercut by trade deals.

This would include giving MPs a vote and final say on any free trade agreements signed.

The party has also called for an emergency tax cut to address the cost of living crisis, slashing the top rate of VAT from 20% to 17.5%.

Tim Farron, the party's spokesperson for rural affairs, said rural communities were 'fed up with being taken for granted'.

"From Somerset to my own patch of Westmorland and Furness, people used the local elections to make that crystal clear.

“Boris Johnson must use the Queen’s Speech as an opportunity to tackle the pressing issues facing rural communities up and down the country.

“Farmers don’t deserve to be undercut by damaging new trade deals and the slashing of farm payments."

It comes after Stuart Roberts, former NFU deputy president, recently announced that he had joined the Liberal Democrats to help push the party's farming policy.

Mr Roberts, who was previously a Conservative Councillor, said the Conservative government had "badly let down" farmers and rural communities.

Source: Farming UK