Helen Morgan MP, North Shropshire Liberal Democrats

Farmers need extra support to deal with double crisis


13th July 2022

North Shropshire MP Helen Morgan has called for extra support for farmers as they attempt to cope with a ‘cost-of-doing-business crisis’ on top of the cost-of-living crisis.

The Lib Dem MP also warned about impact on farmers’ mental health, emphasising “that there's a human cost as well as a financial one for those working hard to keep Britain fed”.

Speaking during a debate in Parliament, Helen said: “For our farmers, this isn't really a cost-of-living crisis, this is a cost-of-doing-business crisis. They've told me that rocketing input costs are risking the businesses literally going out of business.”

She told MPs that while there are global issues, the Government is not doing enough to mitigate their impact. Meanwhile charities such as Shropshire Rural Support are attempting to fill the void as already-isolated people seek financial help and struggle with their mental health.

The MP called for a new strategy to deal with labour shortages affecting harvesting and processing, using the example of pig farmers in North Shropshire who are considering closing due to shortages at meat processing plants.

She said: “I've met pig farmers in North Shropshire whose only option now is to shoot pigs that can't be processed on farm and think about shutting up shop.

“The nail in the coffin for many of our farmers is the manner in which the Basic Farm Payment has been phased out before its replacement is ready to roll, this Agricultural Transition Plan.”

Citing examples from other meetings with farmers across North Shropshire, Helen added: “At a time when food security can no longer be taken for granted, the Government's broken promise to maintain their historic levels of support for this period of transition is putting the farming sector at a high level of risk.”

Helen urged the Government to make sure trade deals “won't undercut our family farms by allowing cheaper, lower quality food into the country,” saying the country should be proud of its high animal welfare standards.

She also said she was well placed as an accountant to support the NFU’s calls for business loans, which Helen said would help agricultural businesses survive the critical period between input cost and harvest. She also backed calls for more transparency over fertiliser market prices to help farmers plan for next year’s crop.

Helen was speaking during a cross-party debate in Westminster Hall on support for farmers with the cost of living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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