NFU 2010: Government warned against farming spending cuts

Cuts in agricultural funding will damage UK farmers’ ability to feed the country, politicians have been warned.

Speaking ahead of the NFU conference in Birmingham this week (23-24 February), union president Peter Kendall said agriculture was vital to UK food security and the economy.

Making cuts in the amount of money spent on farming in a bid to ease government debts would only damage the industry.

Mr Kendall said whoever came into power following this year’s general election needed to work with farmers to find areas where money was being wasted and not just make big cuts in spending.

Farmers could not be expected to “pick up the can for crass inefficiencies”, he told the Press Association.

“We want government to realise that it runs a real risk, if it cuts away at agricultural spending, of damaging farming’s ability to meet those big challenges of the future.”

Mr Kendall also criticised animal health and cost-sharing plans which would see farmers being charged a “livestock tax” for disease control.

He claimed government did not have a handle on the costs of tackling the issue and the tax was a “head-on mugging for money”.

For full conference coverage see our NFU 2010 Conference special report page