Axing CAP support will plunge 20,000 farming families into poverty – McAleer
Sinn Féin spokesperson on rural affairs, Declan McAleer has expressed grave concern at comments made by British Prime Minister Theresa May that she expects Britain and the north to leave the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) in March 2019.
Mr McAleer said:
“The axing of the CAP Pillar 1 Single Farm Payment (SFP) will unquestionably plunge over 20,000 farm families into poverty. Farmers and consumers in the north rely on the SFP to produce high standard and affordable food.
“The Tory-DUP axis are now placing this at grave risk and comments from their backbenches indicate they would be happy to sacrifice this, along with the livelihoods of our farming families, for cheap, inferior, imported food.
“The ending of CAP support would devastate farm and rural communities in the north. Farmers anxiously await their payment in December and when received it goes straight into the local shops and farm merchants. The knock-on effect for the local economy would be huge.
“In terms of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) a move away from the CAP Pillar 2 support would have major repercussions for farm business improvement measures, environmental schemes and broader schemes to support the economic and social development of rural communities.
“As a rural community activist, I fully appreciate the importance of LEADER for the provision of basic services in local communities and the work that Local Action Groups (LAGs) do in delivering other EU-funded programmes such as the Rural Business Investment Scheme, the Rural Broadband Scheme and Co-operation measures between LAGs.
“As such, the announcement to ‘move away’ from CAP support is not only an attack on the farmers who rely on such support, it is an attack on the wider farming and non-farming rural community.
“The comments from Theresa May unfortunately are an echo of what Michael Gove and the Brexiteers having been saying for many months and should serve as a wake=up call for their Brexit cheer leaders here in the north.
“The majority of people here voted to remain in the EU and these latest comments from Theresa May prove that their decision was correct. The only means to achieve this is special designated status for the north and Sinn Féin will continue to lead the campaign to secure this."