Queen’s Speech: Rescue package needed for rural communities let down by Conservatives

Queen’s Speech: Rescue package needed for rural communities let down by Conservatives

Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats are demanding a rescue package for rural communities in the Queen's Speech that have been “forgotten about” by Boris Johnson and his Conservative Government. It comes after a huge backlash against the Conservatives in rural areas at the local elections with the Liberal Democrats making sweeping gains, including taking control of Somerset and Westmorland and Furness councils. The Liberal Democrats have demanded that the Queen’s Speech address some of the glaring issues being faced by people living in the countryside, such as long ambulance waiting times and the pumping of raw sewage into rivers and waterways. Sewage: Bring into law Tim Farron’s Sewage Discharges Bill, which would ban water companies from dumping sewage into rivers and legislate to name and shame those companies who poison animals and swimmers.Farming: Introduce…
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Outgoing NFU Deputy President joins Lib Dems

Outgoing NFU Deputy President joins Lib Dems

Parliamentary news
Today the outgoing Deputy President of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has announced he has joined the Liberal Democrats. Stuart Roberts recently finished his high profile role at the NFU to become politically active. He will join Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey today visiting an agriculture college in Hampshire. Well-known vet and Liberal Democrat candidate for Winchester Danny Chambers will also join them. Stuart, who owns and manages a farm in Hertfordshire, has held numerous senior positions in the NFU and the food and farming industry. He was previously a Conservative Councillor in Hertfordshire but has joined a growing number of farmers who are no longer supporting the Conservative party. Today’s announcement follows last year’s political earthquake in North Shropshire where local farming communities voted Liberal Democrat for the first…
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Lib Dems warm of Blue Wall Farmers revolt – “We are now the party that Backs British Farmers”

Lib Dems warm of Blue Wall Farmers revolt – “We are now the party that Backs British Farmers”

Campaigns, Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats have put the Conservatives' former rural heartlands on notice at their conference this weekend. It comes as the party has passed sweeping reform aimed at targeting the farming community that is “fed up with being taken for granted by the Government”. The push to win the farming community comes after the North Shropshire by-election which caused a political earthquake in true blue Shropshire. Now the party is gearing up to win over farmers in the May elections where eyes are on the blue walls of rural heartlands in places like Somerset, Herefordshire and Westmorland - key Lib Dem, Conservative battlegrounds in May. Alongside the “Back British Farmers” party policy reform the Liberal Democrats have also launched specialised farmers campaigning packs for local Lib Dems to gain support…
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NFU criticism: Conservatives don’t understand our farmers

NFU criticism: Conservatives don’t understand our farmers

Parliamentary news
Responding to the President of the National Farmers' Union Minette Batters criticising the UK Government’s farming policy as "completely contradictory" at their national conference, Liberal Democrat Food & Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said: "The comments from the NFU today prove what we already know - the Conservatives don't understand our farmers' needs and they're failing the farming industry. "On one hand they're signing trade deals that are deeply damaging, undermining British food standards and undercutting British farmers, while on the other hand they're cutting the vital support they need by phasing out Basic Payments before the new payments scheme is ready. "Farmers are key allies in the fight against climate change, but the Conservatives risk losing hundreds of farmers who will simply go bust if they continue along…
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Australia trade deal to cause £94m blow to British farmers and fishermen

Australia trade deal to cause £94m blow to British farmers and fishermen

Parliamentary news
The Liberal Democrats have warned that farmers are being “sold down the river” by the Conservatives, after it emerged the government's own impact assessment found the Australia deal will cause a £94m hit to the farming and fishing industries. The Department for International Trade’s impact assessment of the agreement, published alongside the final text of the trade deal on 17 December 2021, refers to “a reallocation of resources away from agriculture, forestry and fishing” of £94 million. There is also an expected £225 million hit to the semi-processed food sector, such as tinned foods. The report also warns of “adjustment costs for affected sectors, businesses and employees” as well as the loss of jobs. The impact assessment refers to Australia as a “large, competitive producer of agricultural products”, making clear…
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Conservatives are letting down British farmers

Conservatives are letting down British farmers

Parliamentary news
Liberal Democrat MPs have supported amendments to the Trade Bill, aiming to ensure that future trade agreements meet the UK’s high standards of animal welfare. The Conservatives voted to reject these amendments. Furthermore, the government rejected amendments to strengthen the new Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC), including one requiring the TAC to consider human health, as well as environmental and animal welfare when assessing new trade deals. By consistently failing to support these measures, the Conservatives risk future trade deals permitting the import of food that fails to meet the UK’s high standards. This puts significant pressure on British farmers. Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Farming said: “Farmers across the country are worried about their future - they’re worried that the UK will be flooded with poor quality…
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Lib Dems back high standards for British food and farmers

Lib Dems back high standards for British food and farmers

Parliamentary news
Liberal Democrat Lords helped defeat the Government by backing a cross-party amendment to the Trade Bill ensuring that future trade agreements meet the UK’s high standards of animal welfare and the environment. The Conservatives have consistently failed to support such a measure, risking that future trade deals could permit the import of food that fails to meet the UK’s high standards. This puts significant pressure on British farmers. Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Farming said: “Farmers across the country are worried about their future - they’re worried that the UK will be flooded with poor quality food that undercuts the food they produce to high environmental and animal welfare standards. “The Conservatives have continually failed to protect our farmers from these risks. This amendment will ensure that our farmers…
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New Trade and Agriculture Commission must be a “watchdog with teeth” – Farron

Parliamentary news
Responding to news that the Government will establish a new Trade and Agriculture Commission, Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson Tim Farron said: “On the face of it this is a very welcome concession from the Government and is thanks to the brilliant campaign run by the NFU that we’ve been proud to support. “However, the announcement contained no details about how this new commission will operate or how Parliament will be able to properly scrutinise any new trade deal and the effect it will have on our world-class food, animal welfare and environmental standards.  “This new body must be a watchdog with teeth that will prevent the Conservatives undermining British farmers, instead of a lapdog that provides cover for the Tories to sell us out in future trade deals.”
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