Louth & Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins welcomes Prime Minister NFU Conference speech to back British farmers

Louth and Horncastle’s MP has welcomed the Prime Minister’s NFU Conference speech which announced measures to ensure all farmers and producers are treated fairly.
Victoria Atkins pictured on Back British Farming Day 2023.Victoria Atkins pictured on Back British Farming Day 2023.
Victoria Atkins pictured on Back British Farming Day 2023.

Speaking at the National Farmers Union Conference in Birmingham on Tuesday (February 20), Rishi Sunak and Environment Secretary Steve Barclay announced a range of measures to boost productivity and resilience in the sector, including a £427 million grant offer for farmers in the coming financial year.

This includes doubling investment in productivity schemes, bolstering schemes such as the Improving Farming Productivity grant which provides support for farmers to invest in automation and robotics, and rooftop solar installations to build on-farm energy security.

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has welcomed the new measures to back British farmers, saying that it is “vital that our farmers feel supported”.

“Farming and agriculture sits at the heart of our corner of Lincolnshire,” she said, “The package will ensure the government delivers on its commitment to maintain the farming budget for England at £2.4 billion per year.

"For the Louth & Horncastle constituency, this has meant that since last April, the government has invested more than £20 million in farming.

“We are committed to investing in our farm businesses, protecting our food security, improving support for farmers and building fairness in the supply chain.”

The Prime Minister also announced a new annual UK-wide Food Security Index to capture and present the data needed to monitor levels of food security, that the Farm to Fork Summit will be held annually, and a £15 million fund to help tackle food waste by enabling farmers to redistribute surplus food that cannot be used commercially at the farm gate.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “For generations, farmers have worked day in, day out to put food on our tables and are custodians of our beautiful British countryside.

"This is why we committed £2.4 billion to support British farming and have invested into the sector to boost agricultural productivity and resilience, increase food security and deliver for the environment, delivering on our plan.

“This includes the largest ever package of competitions and grants to foster technology and innovation, bolstered by our increasingly popular farming schemes that support all types and size of farm businesses

to produce food sustainably.”

The government also confirmed farmers will benefit from the improved Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) from July this year, following the announcement by the Environment Secretary Steve Barclay in January.

At the conference, the Environment Secretary Steve Barclay will host a roundtable with regional NFU board members to discuss the opportunities and issues facing farmers around the country. The Farming Minister Mark Spencer will speak at the conference as part of a political session on Wednesday.

Farming Minister Mark Spencer said: “Maintaining food security and boosting sustainable food production is vital as we see the impacts of more extreme weather and global events, and this announcement provides further support for farmers to deliver this while also protecting the environment.

“Almost half of farmers across the country are already signed up to our farming schemes and we continue to work closely with farmers to tweak and improve our offer so as many farmers as possible are encouraged to get involved.”

Further measures announced include making up to £500,000 available to deliver projects that support mental health in the farming sector; and expanding permitted development rights to help farm businesses diversify and run profitable businesses, such as farm shops and sports venues.

Funding will also be provided to Internal Drainage Boards that protect agricultural land and rural communities from flooding, helping areas recover from recent flooding events and modernising infrastructure to lower costs for farmers and increase their resilience to climate change.