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Stackyard News May 07

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MP Adds voice to anger over Single Farm Payments

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.

Daniel Kawczynski

Shrewsbury & Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski

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 continuing failure.

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