The Liberal Democrats will aim to support farmers financially, if they are elected in the upcoming North Shropshire by-election.

Lib Dem candidate for the constituency, Helen Morgan, and farming spokesman and former party leader, Tim Farron, visited Soulton Hall near Wem on Wednesday, November 24.

Speaking on the issue of farming, Mr Farron said that farmers across the constituency were being let down financially by the Conservative government.

He said: "We're seeing real anger from farmers across the country, in December farmers will lose the second chunk of their basic payment.

"And so at best farmers here in North Shropshire will have lost 10 per cent of their income as opposed to this time last year, and we've got nothing to replace it.

"The movement to this new scheme, the Environmental Land Management Scheme, ELMS, in theory most farmers are probably not against it, they'd just like to see it.

"And how many of us could cope with a 10 per cent cut in our income, and then be given nothing? Then the hope that maybe sometime in the next five or six years they might be given something.

"The government says the scheme will be available widely by 2028 but so far there's no sign of it being available at all at this point and farmers have not been properly consulted."

Mr Farron also accused the current government of 'killing farming' by taking the industry for granted.

He added: "A tourism economy around here is largely based on the fact that the place looks beautiful, but it's not beautiful by accident.

"It's because the landscape has been maintained for centuries by farmers.

"What the government is doing, I don't think they are deliberately going out of their way to kill farming, but I think by taking places like this for granted, they are definitely doing it by accident, and you're seeing family farms are being killed off."

Mrs Morgan also said that more must be done to support farmers.

"Outside the NHS [farming] is our region's major employer," she added.

"Obviously that's split among lots of different smaller farms but it's our biggest industry.

"So it's really, really important for us that it thrives because we don't want to see families having to move away from the area.

"A lot of farmers have diversified obviously, we've got holiday accommodation on a lot of farms and we've seen a lot of investment in chicken farming in this area because it's a slightly different way of making a living out of your land.

"And with having a big dairy industry, we've got famers putting a lot of capital into their really high-tech milking parlours and they need that income, in many cases just to deal with the finance on that investment.

"The payments are really important to them and it's really important that we look after them."