Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski, Chairman of the
All Party Parliamentary Group for Dairy Farming, this week signed a motion
in Parliament that expresses outrage at the continued failure of
the Government's Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) to improve on the Single Farm Payment scheme.
The scheme, which was designed as part of the Common Agricultural
Policy, is implemented differently in England from anywhere else
in the European Union. It has still failed to pay over 22,000 British
farmers their grants for 2005 - almost one fifth of all claimants.
Now that they are meant to be paying for 2006, the Rural Payments
Agency, the Government Agency in charge of these payments, is failing
to match even last year's dismal record.
Mr Kawczynski, a well respected MP among members of the farming
community, commented, "when David Milliband took over as Secretary
of State for DEFRA, the Prime Minister asked that Single Farm Payments
be central to his role. This has simply not happened and once again
farmers are being let down on income they have budgeted for."
Mr Kawczynski, who also sits on the DEFRA Select Committee in
Westminster, which is a group of MPs that scrutinises the work
of this particular Government department, continued, "although
there are many flaws with the Common Agricultural Policy, and farming
subsidies do distort the market, it is a fact that subsidies exist,
and farmers budget for them and so they depend on them. If this
Government cared for our farming industry - an industry that employs
hundreds of thousands of people - then it would act to ensure the
payments are made and made in full and on time.
"The Government has failed our rural areas once again, by
threatening the farming economy that keeps them running. What with
extra regulation, taxation and lack of investment, people who live
in rural areas are getting a very poor deal. This has to end: I
will continue to fight to ensure a better future for farmers and
our rural regions."
Daniel Kawczynski has signed the follow Early Day Motion number
1487 (Jim Paice).
That this House notes the request made by the Prime Minister to
the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
in May 2006 for the Government to improve its capacity to deliver
the Single Farm Payment on time; is therefore deeply concerned
that English farmers have now been paid less in single farm payments
than they were at this stage last year; recognises that this is
causing serious hardship among farmers and is putting them at a
competitive disadvantage with counterparts not just in mainland
Europe but elsewhere in the UK; notes that nearly one-third of
English farming households now live below the low-income threshold;
and believes that repeated apologies by the Secretary of State
are no substitute for effective action both to ensure that farmers
are paid on time and to avert the prospect of UK taxpayers having
to pay punitive fines to the EU as a result of his Department's
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