Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

War of Words over Minister's Anti-EU Stance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

War of Words over Minister's Anti-EU Stance

Article excerpt


THE UK's farming industry faces a major split on the subject of EU membership.

Minister of State for Farming, Food and the Marine Environment George Eustice is among those to lend his support to the campaign in favour of Brexit, while former Minister for Agriculture and Food Sir Jim Paice has spoken in vehement terms on what he perceives as the immense dangers the move could bring.

UK agriculture is heavily dependent upon subsidies from the EU, but has also faced frustrations over red tape and what some regard as excessive regulation.

Speaking at the launch of Farmers for Britain and marking the publication of a new Vote Leave leaflet, Mr Eustice laid out his vision for how farmers would be better off after a vote to leave the EU.

The leaflet claims the move would help protect farmers' subsidies and perhaps even see them increase.

The campaign also says it would reduce regulation, allow the UK to decide its own rural policy and help the country target funds towards environmental protection, conservation and flood defences.

Mr Eustice said: "Let's get one thing straight: the UK Government will continue to give farmers as much support - or perhaps even more - as they get now.

"The Prime Minister has made that clear and, after all, non-EU countries like Switzerland and Norway actually give more support to their farmers than we do.

"In the scheme of things, the amount of money spent on our countryside and wildlife is very modest when compared with spending on other departments. But we could spend our money more effectively if we had control." The Farmers for In campaign, on the other hand, insists British farming benefits from EU membership through vital funding, increased trade that supports jobs, the protection of British goods and more. …

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