The Liberal Democrats have called for a “rescue package” for farmers and rural businesses after years of Conservative government.
The party today (May 9) called for a new support package to be included in the next Queen’s Speech, which will be held tomorrow.
It follows a rural backlash against the Conservatives, as the party saw a loss of 500 council seats in recent local elections.
Farmers are increasingly worried about the government’s future agricultural policy, as many fear a decline in the UK’s high standards in food production.
Industry groups are also concerned about a growing shortage of workers, as well as increased red tape and delays at borders.
The Liberal Democrats said the Queen’s speech should address these, as well as other “obvious problems” facing people living in the countryside.
It calls on the government to present its proposed agricultural law designed to protect farmers from being undercut by trade agreements.
It would be about giving MPs a vote and the final say on all free trade agreements signed.
The party also called for an emergency tax cut to tackle the cost of living crisis, reducing the top VAT rate from 20% to 17.5%.
Tim Farron, the party’s rural affairs spokesman, said rural communities were “tired of being taken for granted”.
“From Somerset to my own piece of Westmorland and Furness, people have used local elections to make this crystal clear.
“Boris Johnson should use the Queen’s Speech as an opportunity to address the pressing issues facing rural communities across the country.
“Farmers do not deserve to be subjected to damaging new trade agreements and cuts in farm payments.”
It comes after former NFU vice-president Stuart Roberts recently announced he was joining the Liberal Democrats to help push the party’s farm policy.
Mr Roberts, who was previously a Tory councillor, said the Tory government had “sickened” farmers and rural communities.