Ministers urged to back help for uplands farms

The CLA have this week called on Government Ministers to get behind an action plan to revive the struggling uplands.

The Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee has backed reports by the CLA and the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) calling for a push by Ministers to lift the Uplands out of the economic doldrums.

But the CLA said Efra’s specific recommendation to reintroduce headage payments is a step in the wrong direction and would not achieve long-term sustainability for hill farmers.

CLA deputy president Harry Cotterell said: “The Efra Select Committee has broadly endorsed what everyone has agreed: the time for talking about the Uplands and their problems is over. Now is the time for action!

“The CRC reported seven months ago that the Uplands, a unique national asset, is in deep economic difficulty and that a complex set of actions spanning several government departments is needed, pushed forward by Ministers.

“The Efra report agrees that without buy-in from Defra at Ministerial level we will not get the political leverage to move this agenda on from talk to action.

“We would like to see an initiative announced by Defra Ministers setting out a constructive plan for the Uplands.”