McAleer welcome review of ANC payments
The Department of Agriculture has agreed to conduct a review of the equality and human rights implications of ending the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme, Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said.
The West Tyrone MLA welcomed the move, which comes in response to concerns raised by Sinn Féin, and called for the scheme to be protected.
He said: "Sinn Féin concerns with the department regarding their equality and human rights processes because we do not believe a decision to end this scheme is consistent with their equality obligations.
“The ANC scheme, which is worth almost £20 million per annum, provides vital assistance to hill farmers and those struggling to make an adequate from income from land that would not otherwise be viable.
“If the scheme ends as planned this year, these already disadvantaged farmers will be severely hit so it is our view that the Department needs to urgently review its plans in line with its equality obligations.”