Supporting British Farming

25 Sep 2023
Tomato plants growing in a greenhouse

I grew up on a farm and I worked in the farming industry. My parents and my brother still live and work on our farm. I’ve seen first-hand the impossible pressures farmers are under. 

My brother was forced to give up his dairy herd in recent years as it simply wasn’t sustainable in the current climate. And he’s not alone. Instead of supporting farmers, these Conservatives are driving them out of business and endangering their livelihoods. 

The Conservatives have failed to guarantee UK food standards in trade deals, undermining our farmers and risking their very livelihoods. 

They are cutting farmers' existing payments before the new Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs) is even ready.

They have slashed business energy support and failed to class farmers as energy intensive businesses, depriving them of vital support.

Meanwhile, farmers cannot access workers due to the government's botched Brexit deal. In the first half of 2022, £60m worth of fruit and veg went to waste just because of workforce shortages. 

The Conservatives’ failure to back British farming is driving up food prices and it’s ordinary people who are suffering. 

British farmers are the best in the world, Liberal Democrats want to see them continuing to produce high quality food for our tables while protecting and enhancing our natural environment. That’s why today we passed comprehensive new policy to support British farming, protect our environment and secure our food supply:

  • Ending food poverty: extending free school meals to all children in primary education and to all secondary school pupils whose families receive Universal Credit. 
  • Sustainability: Immediately raise the Environmental Land Management scheme budget by £1 billion, supercharging the transition to environmentally sustainable farming.
  • Supporting farmers: Funding and support for the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service to assist farmers with the transition.
  • Workforce: Introducing a proper visa and seasonal worker system which allows our farmers and fishers to access the workforce they need.
  • Protecting the environment: Rewarding farmers to reduce the use of costly imported and environmentally harmful artificial fertilisers and pesticides and tackling antimicrobial resistance, improving food security and tackling food costs.
  • Cooperation: Signing a veterinary and phytosanitary agreement with the EU as soon as possible, alongside mutual recognition and alignment on standards and quality to allow farmers trade with Europe easily. 
  • Trade deals: Prevent the undercutting of UK farmers and fishers in international trade deals by mandating proper democratic scrutiny and accountability in trade deals and ensuring all imports meet UK environmental, climate and animal welfare standards. Renegotiating the Australia and New Zealand Agreements to ensure this.
  • Innovation: Introducing a Research and Innovation Fund to support new and emerging technologies in the sector.
  • Food safety: Giving everyone confidence in the security and safety of the food they buy by providing local authorities with greater powers and resources to inspect and monitor food production, ensure goods are properly checked where necessary, introducing robust and clear food labelling.

Farmers are at the heart of rural communities, they feed our nation, they are custodians of our landscapes.

The Liberal Democrats are committed to supporting British farming to continue safeguarding our environment and producing the high quality food we all want for generations to come.

Back our farmers

Liberal Democrats are backing British farmers. Will you add your name to back our farmers?

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