Ulster Unionist representative Tom Elliott has welcomed the commitment in the Conservative Party’s election manifesto that financial support for farmers will be guaranteed up until 2022, two years longer than what was previously stated.
Tom Elliott, the Ulster Unionist Candidate for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said:
“There are few other sectors of the local economy that face being affected by Brexit as much as agriculture, and with local farmers so heavily reliant on direct financial support what this support will look like once we leave the European Union is understandably one of the main concerns for farmers.
“The previous announcement from the UK Government that the current levels of financial support would be guaranteed up until 2020 was welcome, but it still did little to ease the many wider concerns.
“I was pleased therefore that contained in the Conservative Party manifesto was an important commitment that they would commit to the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of the Parliament term, scheduled for 2022.
“Thankfully this guarantee for a further two years will give many farmers confidence that the UK Government and each of the devolved administrations will have sufficient time to create a new agri-support model to replace the current CAP.
“Every Ulster Unionist candidate elected in the upcoming general election will be resolute that a new land based support model, particularly in Northern Ireland, is an absolute necessity.
“It remains hugely frustrating however that given Northern Ireland has the most to lose from a bungled Brexit, it still remains by far the least prepared. The ongoing absence of a Northern Ireland Executive could prove disastrous at such an important time for local farmers.
“This two-year extension will ease the concerns of some farmers, but people should be under no illusion that this is still an incredibly important period for the future of agriculture. Unless key issues such as trade deals and the movement of goods across the Irish Border are resolved satisfactorily, farmers could still face an uncertain future.”