Farmers’ fears over Boris Johnson’s broken subsidies promise – The Yorkshire Post says

THE growing fears of Yorkshire farmers over post-Brexit trade deals – and funding – need to be set in the context of the remarks that Boris Johnson made at a cattle market just over the county border at Clitheroe exactly five years ago during the height of the EU referendum campaign.

Boris Johnson during a recent farm visit as his commitment towards farmers comes under scrutiny.

Not only would the agricultural industry be free from European Union red-tape, but farmers would be able to enjoy new prosperity and a future government would, to quote him, be “out of its mind” to cancel the subsidies that keep many farms in business.

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Fast forward five years ago and it is Mr Johnson, as Prime Minister, who is coming under increasingly scrutiny amid concerns that the free-market trade deals being negotiated by Cabinet minister Liz Truss will disadvantage UK farmers if they pave the way for cut-price beef and lamb imports to be sold by supermarkets.

Liz Truss, who grew up in Leeds, is the International Trade Secretary and a former Environment Secretary.

This fear is integral to this week’s tensions between Cabinet ministers over the deal that Ms Truss is proposing with Australia – and Mr Johnson appears to have simply played for the time by consenting to a tariff-free deal for 15 years before any quotas enter the equation.

In the meantime, farmers are none the wiser about the Government’s plan to overhaul the system of subsidies that previously came under the auspices of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy amid concerns that many rural enterprises could go out of business unless the shake-up is deferred so a more detailed plan can be developed.

And while one of Mr Johnson’s intentions with Brexit is to increase exports of UK food, this will be a forlorn hope if pays ‘lip service’ to the question of subsidies. After all, he said himself that any government would be “out of its mind” to cut payments.

Now is he going to honour this pledge – or is he going to treat farmers with the same contempt that he has been showing the fishing industry?

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