SDLP Agriculture Spokesperson Patsy McGlone MLA has branded statutory rules introduced by the AERA Minister today as a ‘missed opportunity’ to set out a bold new vision for farming and rural communities.
The Mid Ulster MLA said that Brexit has already cost farming communities £50m in loss of Rural Development and Bovine TD eradication funds.
Speaking in the Assembly today, Patsy McGlone MLA said, “The Agriculture Minister is missing a huge opportunity to set out a bold new vision for the future of farming communities. Passing carbon copy legislation from London may be necessary to some degree to maintain stability for our rural communities but people should be under no illusion – this is not a great deal for our farmers.
“We already know, following Assembly questions I submitted, that Brexit has cost us £34m in Rural Development funding over the next three years as well as £15.3m from the Bovine TB eradication programme. On top of that, the fixed ceiling on payments contained in these rules represents a decrease in income in real terms for farming businesses on a yearly basis due to inflation.
“We have an unmissable opportunity to use new and existing mechanisms of funding and regulation to combat the global crisis of climate change and ever-decreasing biodiversity.
“What is needed is the imagination and the political will to do so. It is long past time for the Minister to start building back better.”