NORTH Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has stood up for farmers in Parliament and called on the Government to stop cuts to support payments until its replacement scheme becomes more widely available.

The MP for North Shropshire spoke in the House of Commons on Thursday after the Government revealed further detail on the post-Brexit subsidies for farmers called environmental land management schemes (ELMs).

While Helen welcomed the aim of the latest announcement, she highlighted the challenges British farmers faced as support payments have reduced at the same time that the costs of fuel, fertiliser and feed have spiralled.

The Liberal Democrats want the Government to stop the reductions to the existing basic payment scheme until more farmers are able to benefit from the new ELMs.

There is concern that the complicated nature of the new scheme will prevent farmers from benefiting from the support they are eligible for.


She said: “We welcome the aims and the objectives of the statement today, but it's been a tough year for farmers with cuts to their basic payment alongside the increasing cost of doing business.

“My farmers are telling me that the SFI schemes are too complex and cost too much upfront to engage with, which is why we've seen such poor take-up rates so far.

“So will the Minister consider halting the cut in the basic payment scheme until our farmers have had time to get to grips with the complexities of this new scheme and we've seen participation rates increase to an acceptable level?”

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said the Government planned to reduce basic payments iver seven years while increasing environmental payments at the same rate.

He said: "“So we should be clear that we set out our plan to reduce basic payments over a seven-year period. What we're trying to do is, as those basic payments come down, we increase the environmental payments at the same rate, so we maintain the same budget.

"Now, I think she is fair in her criticism that some of those schemes appeared to be too complex.

“We've listened to that. These schemes we're announcing today are much more simplistic in their approach, they're much more flexible in their delivery. And I would encourage farmers in her constituency in Shropshire to take a new look.

It's a new approach which builds in that flexibility, particularly for tenant farmers to be able to step in and out in, in SFI. And I think, well, I sincerely hope that her farmers will be able to benefit from the new schemes announced today."

Want to stay up to date with all the top stories of the week from the Oswestry area? Click here to sign up for our weekly catch-up email newsletter and click on the + for the ‘Weekly Catch-Up’.