Witney and West Oxfordshire MP, Robert Courts was pleased to make his contribution during Prime Minister’s Questions last week (10.05.23), highlighting the challenges confronting farming businesses specifically in Oxfordshire as the ‘Agricultural Transition Plan’ is rolled out and calling for greater clarity on the future of farming payment schemes from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Robert recently met with farmers from across his constituency to discuss the key issues currently confronting the local farming industry. At a time when farmers are suffering from inflationary pressures, concerns were raised over the new schemes being rolled out by the Government under the ‘Agricultural Transition Plan’ and the importance of these schemes being inclusive and available to all farm businesses in the UK.
Following the meeting with local farmers, Robert has written to the Minister for Food, Farming & Fisheries, Mark Spencer MP to highlight these crucial concerns being raised around the Department’s new schemes and to highlight the need for full details of the scheme to be published as soon as possible to ensure farmers understand how the different schemes will work together and allow for future planning.
Robert, was therefore pleased to be able to follow up on these points during Prime Minister’s Questions last week, asking the Prime Minister to: “push his colleagues in DEFRA to roll out the rest of the SFI standards as soon as possible, and to consider double-stacking SFI and Countryside Stewardship payments to ensure that Oxfordshire’s farmers get the support they need”. Robert will be following this up with his ministerial colleagues at DEFRA as well as the Prime Minister in the coming weeks.
Commenting, Robert said: “Our farmers provide our food and our countryside’s future. It is vital we ensure that they receive the support they need.
Having recently met with a group of local farmers from across my constituency, I am acutely aware of the challenges they are currently facing as a result of: inflationary pressures, supply-chain vulnerability, alongside uncertainty around new schemes being rolled out by the Government and farmers ability to access appropriate support.
I am therefore pleased to have been able to raise these concerns directly with the Minister responsible and now also the Prime Minister during last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, highlighting to the Government the importance of our local farmers and the UK’s future food security.
If you have any questions relating to this topic, please do get in touch – email@example.com and I would be happy to discuss any of the above in more detail.”