Election manifestos. What are they saying about farming?

Just had a very quick skim through the party manifestos! The only mention I could find in Labour’s is a commitment to “driving reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and a Commission-led zero-based review of spending on EU agencies to reduce waste and inefficiency”. By contrast, the Conservatives take up almost two pages (admittedly one page is an image of some fish) to set their intention to “support the rural economy and strengthen local communities, champion our farmers and food producers, support our fishing and coastal communities, and support countryside pursuits” (including promising a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act).

Plaid Cymru has a nice, colourful separate three-page ‘Farming Manifesto’ (rather difficult to read though as the colour gets in the way) presenting its commitment to support and protect (including from red tape) Welsh farmers. UKIP takes four pages (two of slogans and graphics) to set out their intention to “back British farmers” and “save our fishermen”. The Liberal Democrats rather lengthy document (not far off twice the length of that of the other parties) has a section of food and farming; particular concerns are sustainability and animal welfare. (Apologies to Scotland, but I ran out of steam at this point).

Of course, the manifestos are campaign documents, designed to win votes (although I don’t imagine many voters read them, mostly they read them through the press and media, and through interest groups), and so are more indicative of whose votes they are courting or securing than any significant policy concerns, and hence perhaps tell us more about the demographics of farming interests than about UK farming’s likely fortunes after 7 May.

 

1 Response

  1. admin April 27, 2015 / 9:02 am

    A good summary of where the parties stand on food and farming by Sustain here.

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