Michael Fabricant has condemned the Government following the report by accountants Deloitte & Touche published today on farm incomes which states that farm profits are at their lowest since the company began its survey 11 years ago. The annual income for a typical 500 acre family farm has fallen to just £8000 or £160 per week and since Labour was elected, incomes have fallen by over 75%.
“This is far worse in Staffordshire” says Michael Fabricant “as many farms are smaller than the national average. The blame falls on the Government who have consistently refused to seek any changes in the European Union’s common agricultural policy which favours European hill farmers at our farmers’ expense. And they have burdened agriculture with costly red-tape. In real terms, taking into account inflation, the situation now is that total farm incomes are now at their lowest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. I am desperately concerned that some local farms may go into receivership in the coming year as Deloitte & Touche are projecting that farm incomes will fall still further in the next twelve months.
“In the short term, the Government must lift the red-tape on farms and small abattoirs which is strangling local farmers. Next, the Government plans to adopt the European Charter which will enable Brussels to dictate more rules and regulations on farmers and British businesses. Labour must resist this at the forthcoming EU summit at Biarritz and argue for a fundamental change to the Common Agricultural Policy.
“I shall be seeking an early meeting with the National Farmers Union in London regarding this and will be pressing the Government to relax red-tape and renegotiate the CAP when Parliament returns” adds Michael Fabricant.