HomeSubmissions006. Farming Forum - A View of the Issues - 2005

006. Farming Forum - A View of the Issues - 2005

  1. Government does not take good advice on the range of problems and economic factors, which are complicated by strong currency, devolution, EU politics, and unjustified hostility towards the countryside.  Problems are compounded by both a lack of practical knowledge and genuine communication skills.  Confusion is fed by increasing amounts of poor quality research, and a raft of unsound lobbying organisations, many who obtain money by misleading, or deceiving, public and Parliament.  Doubling of overall Government expenditure in 8 years, without real benefits, is hugely deflationary.  The current size and ambitions of Government, as in the EU, are not sustainable.  In removing support for the production of food, Government is set to waste larger sums on un-costed environmental management schemes, which ignore best practice, and have an uncertain future.
  2. Our taxpayers have contributed each year as much as £15bn per annum to EU farmers, whilst production subsidies in Britain of some £2.2bn have been removed. Subsidised agricultural production exists all around the World, amounting to some £200bn.  However trade agreements sanctioned by Government encourage cheap subsidised products to be dumped in Britain.
  3. There is no realistic long term Strategic Planning and Incentives (not compulsion) for the efficient home production of food, adding value in processing that food, facilitating competitive exports, and raising standards of food, disease, and energy security.  There is an influential, misguided belief, that agriculture is a side show, and should go the same way as the fishing industry.  Those dealing with Government feel betrayed by lack of progress, and conflicting messages.  In consequence, the good management and sound stewardship of countryside, especially in the uplands, is not achievable under current plans.  Master craftsmen are ignored.
  4. Government and the Office of Fair Trading are having difficulty in defining and implementing fair trade.  They are allowing efficient businesses to put out of business by unfair competition, the buying power of cartels and monopolies, and mafia styled activities.  Food miles and fuel costs are ignored.  Good farmers, with the crucial skills to pass on to future generations, require a safety net and support, not closure.  Action now is a national priority.  The absence of a level playing field ensures that nobody wins, be it Home Food Production, Third World Fair Deals, or the Tax Payer.
  5. Lack of Competitiveness through the expense of unnecessary Government Red Tape.
  6. British Agriculture has been hugely disadvantaged by some £30bn over 20 years by the political failureto pass on the EU Payments Rebate, which was negotiated on their behalf to compensate for currency losses, one reason why British farmers are at the bottom of the earnings league table.
  7. The artificially High Pound and relative High Cost of Money has set a dangerous precedent for future economic stability.  Most supply side industries and tourism have suffered permanent damage as a consequence, and we are also left with an Unsustainable Trade Deficit.
  8. 50% of our Food Processing Capacity and Technology has been lost.  This situation has to be reversed, encouraged by Government, in order that real value is added to efficient food production, as has been implemented in New Zealand.  Adding value need not increase cost.
  9. Agriculture in other countries also benefit from a range of Discretionary Payments, incentives, and benefits, beyond production subsidies.  Relatively low levels of Discretionary Payments are available in Britain, but they tend to be diverted unfairly to areas not needing priority support.
  10. The illusion that we can somehow blame the EU and CAP for the collapse of our farming industry was dispelled by EU Minister Hans Fischler, who stated that, as in the case of other European Governments under CAP, we can treat our farmers as fairly as they do.  Any blame therefore rests fair and square on our own successive Governments.  Britain can have its own superb Agricultural Industry - without severance of the ability to give good advice to the EU

Prepared for the Conservative Rural Action Group in March 2005

Edmund Marriage – British Wildlife Management – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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