Farming News - Clarkson says cheap imports will change the countryside forever

Clarkson says cheap imports will change the countryside forever

16 Jun 2020

Jeremy Clarkson who writes a column in the Sunday Times has said that farmers will be "screwed" when the Basic Payment scheme is phased out and bewails the red tape that surrounds farming.

Mr Clarkson, whose own farm "Didley Squat" is based near Chipping Norton wrote about "chlorinated chicken and redtape" last Sunday 14th June saying:

"At present there are a million rules in this country about how animals should be reared and how they should be transported, and these are enforced by satellite tracking, many forms and regular inspections.

"Naturally this means customers know, when they buy a British chicken, that’s it’s led a happy life, suffered a painless death and isn’t drizzled in bleach.

"It’d be lovely to think the customer will avoid these birds, but don’t fool yourself. Wayne and Waynetta won’t care any less, because they will be cheaper than the quality British alternative."

Conservative MP Neil Parish tried at the third reading of the Agriculture Bill, to include an amendment that would have protected British farmers and customers from low-quality imports but only 22 Tories voted in favour and, as a result, the amendment failed.

Mr Clarkson responded to the vote by saying: "This means that, soon, British farmers will be asked to compete on the world stage, with no financial help, while having both hands tied behind their backs by red tape. Even now, I cannot sell a lamb I delivered and reared on my own farm in my own farm shop for less than you’d pay for a New Zealand lamb in the supermarket. When the basic payment scheme for farmers is phased out, I’ll be even more screwed. So will many thousands of others."

He concluded: "Right now Britain produces only 60% of the food it needs, and if you’re worried about that number getting any lower, you should contact the government immediately. Send your thoughts on a form, it’s the only language it seems to understand."