THE Government’s “new” policy to guarantee the security of our food supplies is not new – and also disguises the real intention to slash future farm incomes, says the highly respected Country Land and Business Association.
Defra secretary Hilary Benn was given wide publicity yesterday (Monday) on radio, TV and in the Press, but the CLA immediately issued a counterblast accusing him of “engaging in a phoney debate.”
Defra’s stated aim is to persuade people to cut food waste; eat more local, seasonable food; and to grow their own veg, despite there being a nationwide famine of available allotments (See News yesterday). There is also a hint that the planting of more GM crops will be encouraged.
But the CLA commented caustically that there was nothing new in these suggestions and added: “The biggest deception is that, while talking sympathetically about the need for more UK-produced food, they hold fast to their core strategy which will do the opposite.”
CLA President Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said that farm incomes had remained static for the past 11 years since Labour came to power and the Government’s long-term policy was to eradicate direct fram subsidies totally by 2020.
He went on: “They decline to mention these facts and do not mention the impacts that could be expected of this policy on farming incomes, the number of farms which would survive, the effects on production, imports and food security, or to the rural environment.”