jonathan bullock, farmers
In The Media » British farmers and consumers must be put first
EAST Midlands MEP Jonathan Bullock has vowed that he will put British farmers and consumers first, as Britain prepares to leave the EU.
Mr Bullock, whose constituency covers a wide range of farming land, was reacting to Michael Gove's recent speech to the National Farmers' Union.
In it, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said up to now so many of our laws and regulations were laid down by the Common Agricultural Policy.
Mr Bullock said: "There is a line in there which states, 'for the first time in almost half a century, we are free to design policies from first principles that put British farmers, and consumers, first'.
"UKIP will be doing its best to make sure that happens as we move towards March, 2019.
"The speech also criticised subsidy payments based on the value of land, and the unwieldy inspections farms have to undergo from a series of Government departments. Dame Glenys Stacey has been appointed to review these inspections, with a consultation paper to follow.
"As MEP for the East Midlands, I would urge as many farmers from the area to take part in these consultations and make their voices heard."
Mr Bullock was also keen to raise the issue of seasonal workers and EU migration.
He said: "Many farms, including in this region, rely on migrant labour, particularly in picking. There are real problems with this as a strategy - more generally the country's addiction to migrant labour means we are less likely to address issues such as low pay, poor terms and conditions, a lack of relevant training or a lack of innovation and technological development.
"It has also made employers uncompetitive - why look for other ways to cut costs when you can cut labour costs?
"The Government is yet to fully address these issues and it must do so."
He said that David Goodhart, from the Policy Exchange, has written a paper, (see Notes To Editors), on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.
Mr Bullock added: "He reminds us we had a Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme, (SAWS), for 60 years, and it was phased out in 2014, as the ready supply of Eastern European labour made it superfluous.
"Nearly all workers returned home under this scheme, so if re-established it should not affect our long-term migration figures."
To read Mr Gove's speech - https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/a-brighter-future-for-farming
To Read Mr Goodhart's Policy Exchange piece - https://policyexchange.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Immigration-after-Brexit.pdf
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