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Are Nigel Farage’s agricultural policies really ‘unrealistic and uncosted’?

23 July 2014

Much has been made of the reception that greeted Nigel Farage at the CLA Game Fair on Friday. The punters were far more interested in Nigel Farage than George Eustice, the incumbent Farming Minister, though perhaps things might have been different had Liz Truss turned up instead. When Farage referred to the much-loved Owen Paterson as ‘having been sacked and made a scapegoat for a failed EU policy [on flooding] which led to the flooding in Somerset’, cheers erupted from the tent.

Despite the rumpus that Farage’s presence created at the Game Fair, it’s still debatable whether Britain’s presence in the EU is a good thing for the countryside and rural communities. Ross Murray, Deputy President of the Country Land & Business Association, which sponsors the fair, argued that EU exports, which British farmers depend on, would be ‘cut to shreds’ if we left the EU, and we would be ‘completely at the mercy of the supermarkets’. Additionally, the money that farmers receive through the EU – both through direct payments and ‘investment in the wider rural economy’ – is something that we simply can’t afford to turn our backs on, he said.

Farage’s counter-argument is that in the long term, our farming industries will be better off if we can control them ourselves by being outside of the EU. In terms of trade, he claims that since we buy more from the EU than they buy from us, the links that are currently in place will continue unhindered. The party’s current agricultural plan involves a modified single farm payment scheme, which is capped at a certain level, but with no payments for land within 25 yards of a wind turbine or solar panel. Ross Murray claimed at the Game Fair that Ukip’s rural plans are ‘unrealistic and uncosted’; it’s up to Ukip to disprove that claim.

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  • Augustus

    “Additionally, the money that farmers receive through the EU…”

    Ah! That’s it, isn’t it? Often being paid not to farm. Being paid thousands in subsidies not to grow crops. Non-farming must suit them. Some farmers even take European Union’s set-aside policy as far as it can go and move all their cropland out of production. Something’s wrong when you’re being paid not to grow food.

  • you_kid

    After seeing that photograph and noting the massive renewables subsidies various Ukip loons are clearly sponging, what further proof would be required until the last fuel poor punter gathers that Ukip *are* in fact the establishment?

  • Diggery Whiggery

    “Ross Murray claimed at the Game Fair that Ukip’s rural plans are ‘unrealistic and uncosted’; it’s up to Ukip to disprove that claim.”

    Really? That’s what they say about all UKIP policies and yet if you look at the present governments policies they too seem to be uncosted and unrealistic as they’re still spending £100bn more than they’re ‘earning’ for want of a better word.

  • flaxdoctor

    Ross Murray is completely wrong in claiming that UK farmers depend in any significant way on EU exports. We import nearly 40% of the food we consume in the UK, and we are barely self-sufficient in any sector other than poultry meat production, which has never been interfered with by EU subsidy. The facts are summarised on pages 27-29 of this government document:

  • Roy

    Well, are the present incumbents policies tested all true and in line? Have the Labour crowd all their policies correct and tested? Has there never been a crumbling of the countries financial systems? Well, don’t pick on the new blood then. Nothing could be worse for the ordinary mortals of this country, so don’t pick on ones who have a plan!!

  • Patrick Gearon

    The EU isn’t a ‘thing’ rather a default position, a fail safe mechanism when all else has gone bad. And if anyone should actually welcome it then surely it is with a heavy heart.
    However, judging by these comments here I can sense unity amongst individuals where once there was none, so perhaps we needed the EU in order to reset ourselves i.e. to see common sense.
    What a nasty horrible dream it was : to give up all we had only to be told what to do.
    I’ll eat dirt if I have to but at least it will be mine.

  • Blindsideflanker

    “George Osborne’s deficit reduction plan under pressure as borrowing rises”

    When we have an un-costed Government, who is still borrowing to make ends meet, and still adding to our national debt at an alarming rate, any attempt to suggest ‘shock horror’ that UKIP might not have a perfectly costed agriculture policy, really doesn’t alarm anybody any more.

  • global city

    Farming associations have been bought off, just like all major institutions are. They are paid huge sums to do positive research… that’s political propaganda under any normal analysis.

  • Lady Magdalene

    UKIPs policies – fully costed – will be released in September.

  • saffrin

    If we reduced the taxes that fund the EU’s agricultural policy and associated subsidies, we could afford to pay the market price.
    Note to strawberry farmers, if you can’t sell ’em, don’t grow ’em.

  • Jacques Strap

    Ross Murray is just used to things a certain way. If we did not have to hand over all that money every year to Brussels we could subsidise farmers ourselves in our own way that suits our country. We are a net contributor to the EU.

    The common agricultural policy is there to benefit French farmers and French farmers only.

    • cambridgeelephant

      Well said !

    • Christian Carle

      indeed, if I recall correctly, almost 40%, if not more, of the EU subsidies for farming goes to french farmers…..

  • CraigET

    “The money that farmers receive through the EU – both through direct payments and ‘investment in the wider rural economy’ – is something that we simply can’t afford to turn our backs on.”

    The money is not manna from heaven. It is facile to suggest that a loss in subsidies is equivalent to a loss overall, especially as we are net contributors to the EU budget.

    The EU, like all government, simply steals from those who produce goods and services. If you culled this band of brigands, the only thing that would be lost is their salaries. Hence why the arguments to maintain the EU tend to prey on fear; the modus operandi of the tyrant.

  • right_writes

    “Additionally, the money that farmers receive through the EU – both through direct payments and ‘investment in the wider rural economy’ – is something that we simply can’t afford to turn our backs on, he said.”

    Lordy, is this all you can say?

    First, may I ask where the EU gets its money in the first place?

    That would be us….


    Second point…

    Oh, there is no point……….

  • Radford_NG

    How many of these landed welfare scroungers can tell me the name of their benefactor:the Reich Commissioner for agriculture in Brussels. I do not know his name but for sure he is French.Why would you think he has Britain’s interests at heart?

    When Britain is a nation once again,able to trade on our own terms with New Zealand and Canada (instead of imposing a 10% trade barrier against them) we will all know who is the Minister of Ag.&Fish.–where he is to be found in Westminster and his constituancy;and who his boss is (the P.M.).Thus in a general election we can all vote on the farming policy we want.

    Also Britain is the French farmers’ major export market and no Continental is going to mess with this,and with them,with impunity.

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