Julian Smith, Member of Parliament for Skipton and Ripon and Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, has highlighted the challenges for hill farmers caused by problems with the way in which payments are administered.
He questioned the Minister response in the House of Commons on Thursday (9 September) and asked for the Government’s response.
Addressing the issue, Jim Paice, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:
"We are very aware of the need to reduce burdens on farmers, to increase competitiveness and to trust businesses to maintain standards. The taskforce on farm regulation, which I appointed in July, will consider how to reduce regulatory burdens and deliver risk-based and integrated compliance and inspection. It will consider all regulation that bears on farmers, including hill farmers, and it has started a wide consultation to understand which issues cause farmers most concern."
Julian Smith then asked:
"Hill farmers are facing significant challenges caused by the previous Government's scrapping of the hill farm allowance, and by the bureaucracy involved in its replacement. Will the Minister meet me to discuss specific cases in Skipton and Ripon some time in the near future?"
In response, Jim Paice said:
"Of course I would be very happy to speak to my hon. Friend on this subject, and I appreciate the point that he is making. The upland entry level stewardship scheme is basically a very good scheme; I would not dissent from that - I am not going to criticise the basis of the scheme, but my hon. Friend is right to say that some aspects of it are too bureaucratic and difficult to access, particularly when issues between landlords and tenants or issues of common land are involved. I am happy to try to address that."
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