Why we need a Fair Deal for Farming in Folkestone and Hythe

10 May 2024
Farm / field

Farmers play a crucial role in our economy, national well-being, and environment.

Here in Folkestone and Hythe, Romney Marsh and the Elham Valley and North Downs are shaped by farming and agriculture. From world famous Romney Marsh lamb, to crops, to vineyards on the hills overlooking Folkestone.

But the Conservative government's neglect has put farmers under significant strain, leading to business closures and uncertainty. 

The government's botched transition from the Basic Payment Scheme has threatened farmers' livelihoods with old payments cut before new payment mechanisms were put in place. Farmers also contend with increases in energy, fertiliser and feed stock prices. 

The Government is also mishandling trade. The deals they have negotiated limit farmers' access to the EU market, increase costs and undercut British agricultural standards on animal welfare and environmental protection. 

Farmers are key allies in the fight to tackle climate change, to enhance our natural environment, and to feed our country. 

It's vital farmers get the fair deal they need to continue to produce high quality food for our tables while protecting and enhancing our natural environment. 

The Liberal Democrats would transform agricultural policy so farmers get the resources and support to grow their businesses, reduce food prices, and protect the environment. 

We will: 

✅ Increase the farming Environmental Land Management (ELM) budget by £1 billion a year to support farmers’ incomes and ensure they’re properly rewarded and supported to transition to environmentally sustainable farming. 

✅ Fully fund and resource the Agricultural Development & Advisory Service (ADAS) so all farmers get the support and training they need. 

✅ Support farmers to restore woodland and peatland, create natural flood protections and manage land to encourage species recovery and carbon storage. 

✅ Introduce a Research and Innovation Fund to support new and emerging agricultural technologies, such as alternative proteins. 

As liberals, we support free trade, but it must also be fair. 

We need trade deals which prevent the undercutting of our high standards, while also boosting exports. 

We will: 

✅ Ensure all future trade deals maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards, so Britain’s farmers and food producers are not disadvantaged. Trade negotiations will have proper democratic scrutiny and accountability. 

✅ Renegotiate the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements to meet these objectives, and withdraw from them if they can’t be met. 

To ensure seamless trade with the EU, we will: 

✅ Ensure mutual recognition and alignment on standards and quality. 

✅ Negotiate veterinary and plant health agreements with the EU. 

✅ Rebuild trust and cooperation with Europe by following the four-stage roadmap. 

To further support farmers and boost food security, we will: 

✅ Introduce a proper visa and seasonal worker system so farmers and fishers can access the workforce they need. 

✅ Restore the International Development Budget and use the money to invest and support sustainable farming overseas. 

That’s the fair deal for farming that we’ll be fighting for at the General Election. 

Larry Ngan and Lib Dem Campaigners on The Leas, Folkestone

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Larry Ngan, Daniel and Fry with "Build More Houses" t-shirt on The Leas, Folkestone

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