"The number one priority must be getting payments to English
farmers", says CLA President David Fursdon on the announcement
of the new Defra team.
"Lord Bach's position became politically untenable as the
mess of the Rural Payments Agency became clear and the most urgent
challenge for the new team is to get up to speed with the issues
and ensure the payments system is up and running as soon as possible.
We welcome Baroness Ashton of Upholland into her new role and
look forward to updating her on this and other issues as we continue
our weekly meetings.
"We want the new ministers to help bring town and country
together and reconnect people with food and farming. Farmers
and land managers are now paid for creating the sort of countryside
that the British tax payer wants – whether rural or urban – and
these new ministers with urban constituencies will provide an
invaluable perspective to this process.
"We would urge the incoming rural affairs minister to adopt the same approach
taken by the outgoing Jim Knight, highlighted by his key role in setting up the
Affordable Rural Housing Commission, his pragmatic approach to the improving
coastal access project, and our equine campaign, " Mr Fursdon concluded.
CLA President David Fursdon has offered an open invitation to Mr Miliband and
his new team the opportunity to tour some of his members' farms and estates to
get some first hand experience of the current burning rural issues.
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