The Tenant Farmers Association has urged Prime Minister Gordon
Brown and his new Secretary of State for Environment Food and
Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn MP to re-engage with the farming community.
TFA National Chairman
Reg Haydon OBE
Speaking at this year’s Royal Agricultural Show, TFA National
Chairman Reg Haydon OBE said, “Farmers will remember the
past administration for its broken promises and Mr Brown must learn
from this. In his first press conference, on the steps of 10 Downing
Street, Mr Brown promised to make changes in light of voters' concerns
- that must include the concerns of farmers”.
“The 1997 Labour Party, General Election Manifesto promised
to deal with the burden of regulation on the industry but over
Mr Blair’s 10 years in office that burden has got worse.
There was also the promise not to repeat the mistakes of the Conservatives
in handling BSE in any future disease outbreak yet the handling
of the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001, particularly in
its early days, led to mayhem in the industry and the wider rural
economy and the ongoing shambles that is the Government’s
policy on bovine TB is shameful” said Mr Haydon.
“In 2001 Labour promised to assist with an out-goers scheme
for farmers but this was quickly dropped as soon as the Labour
Party was re-elected to Government. Mr Blair also promised to assist
in breaking the ‘arm-lock’ of the supermarkets but
instead we have seen supermarket power become even stronger since
Labour first came to power. He said that he recognised the special
needs of people who live and work in rural areas and yet his actions
and policies show that that was far from the truth especially in
relation to the agricultural community” said Mr Haydon.
“Mr Brown and Mr Benn must appreciate the fundamental importance
of farming to our future development and security as a nation.
If climate change, whatever its direction, is going to make it
more difficult for some parts of the world to produce food we should
be ensuring that we have an industry that can feed our population
long-term. Current Government policy which is causing a major exodus
from the industry is short-sighted in the extreme. If our supplies
of energy, particularly oil, continue to come from parts of the
world which at best are unfriendly and at worst blatantly hostile
to the west in general and Britain in particular, shouldn’t
we be doing more to encourage our farmers to produce alternatives
that ensure our long term energy security?” said Mr Haydon.
“I will be speaking to the new Secretary of State when he
is guest speaker at the TFA’s joint reception with Barclay’s
Bank on the Monday of this year's Royal Show and I will be stressing
these points to him” said Mr Haydon.
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