Self-sufficiency drive key to revitalising UK farming
OCTOBER 2010: NICK Griffin has been asked by an association of farmers from the north of his constituency to support local wildlife initiatives in the North West.
The association is concerned that the Government's need to cut spending will reduce the amount of public funds going towards conservation.
It wants to see the Government redistribute the costs of conservation by doing much more to make polluters pay for the damage they do to the environment or by making people who benefit from the natural world, pay for some of the services they currently receive for free.
Writing to the MEP, a farmer from Cumbria warns:
"It is critical to protect agri-environment spending as this is the key means of maintaining Sites of Special Scientific Interest, halting the loss of habitats and restoring biodiversity. "The Higher Level Scheme in particular is the crucial, science-based programme for delivery of these goals. In addition, due to the high European contribution to these schemes, scrapping them would mean more money would be sent back to Europe than would be saved, which would make cuts here a poor deal for the UK taxpayer.
"There are other ways to improve the cost-effectiveness of countryside payments. For example, the Single Farm Payment, which cost £1.6 billion in England in 2008, is an inefficient use of taxpayer funds. It does not cost-effectively achieve income security for farmers, food security or high environmental standards."
The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy is due to be reformed in 2013 and the association wants the UK Government to demand more for its investment.
Responding on behalf of the MEP, Constituency Office manager Tina Wingfield wrote:
"The Coalition Government’s Spending Review 2010 is likely to have a significant and damaging effect on many areas of British life, and the withdrawal of essential funding is of great concern to many service-providing organisations.
"You are quite correct to highlight the absurdity of the current system, whereby a decision by our national government to save money by cutting agri-environment spending may actually result in a net deficit of funds due to the consequential loss of EU grants.
"The British Government is bound so inextricably by European Union community-wide policies and finance schemes, that the decisions made in our national parliament can be undermined, contradicted or rendered negative as a result of this national subservience and interdependence with the EU. Indeed, Westminster is so restricted by EU rules and regulations that there is hardly an area of policy where the British parliament remains entirely sovereign. The cost of this suffocating relationship is, moreover, exorbitant, with British taxpayers enjoying funding rebates which constitute a drop in the ocean compared to the tsunami of public money that is gifted annually to the European Union and re-distributed to the benefit of numerous other European nations.
"Mr Griffin and the British National Party believe that decisions on policy matters in economic, social and political spheres should be made by the British Government, with reference primarily to the best interests of Britain and the British people. This includes, of course, assessing how to spend British taxpayers’ money in a fair, efficient and co-ordinated way, so that overall policy pledges are upheld.
"In order to ensure our national sovereignty and the right to determine our own destiny, the British National Party demands an immediate withdrawal from the European Union.
"With respect to agricultural policy, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies will be phased out following our withdrawal from the EU and replaced, initially, with the British system of subsidy that existed prior to 1973.
"A healthy nation depends on a healthy environment and healthy food. The British National Party envisages a strong agricultural sector and vibrant farming communities as vital to the nations’ well-being. The regeneration of the family farm as the core structure of our agricultural sector will be encouraged; emphasis placed on quality, self-sufficiency, environmentally sustainable rural communities and (where feasible) decreased reliance on petrochemical products. To protect the environment from damage a “polluter pays” policy will be adopted and the work of the Countryside Restoration Trust will be supported and promoted.
"In short, gaining freedom from European Union control is an essential precursor to implementing co-ordinated, economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural policies."