Tory leader says Lord Bach’s position is ‘difficult to defend’

Tory leader David Cameron has added weight to calls for junior DEFRA minister Lord Bach to stand down over the single farm payment crisis.

Mr Cameron criticised the minister for saying as recently as last month that the bulk of payments would come by the end of March.

“I do think that his position is extremely difficult to defend,” he told the BBC’s Farming Today programme.

On Thursday (30 March) Lord Bach and the Rural Payments Agency met the British Bankers’ Association and other representatives of the major lending banks to discuss the current situation.

After the meeting, they issued a joint statement which said that the banks still felt that no viable businesses were failing because of uncertainty over the payments timetable.

“We have agreed that we will continue to work closely together in ensuring that farmers awaiting payment are offered support and help wherever possible,” it said. “We recognise that these are difficult times for many farmers and that a flexible approach on all sides is required.”

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