Leading South West European candidates will be meeting farmers in Devon today (Wednesday, September 4) to talk farming, land value tax and the Common Agricultural Policy. The meeting will be hosted by the former chairman of the Exeter branch of the NFU, Henry Gent, on his farm at Mosshayne, Broadclyst.
Henry Gent, whose family has been running the farm at Mosshayne for 120 years, said: “Green Party policies help reduce the vulnerability of our markets to global commodities produced from environmentally and socially damaging inputs.
“At the moment the best farmers cannot make ends meet without the Single Farm Payment, but every time the Greens ratchet up their position in Europe, momentum builds to block cheap commodities produced by unsustainable methods, and the future of good farming and sustainably produced food looks better.”
Emily McIvor, the national party’s Speaker on Rural Affairs and a European candidate, will also be present. She said: “The South West Green Party is committed to seeking out and promoting best practice among the region’s farmers, and demonstrating that increasing productivity need not depend on reducing environmental standards.
“We are keen to look at the long-term impacts of food production, ensuring that preserving soil and water quality, and enhancing biodiversity, underpin both local and EU-wide agricultural policy.”
Molly Scott Cato, the lead Green Party European candidate in the South West and an eminent green economist, will also be at the meeting and will discuss the possibility of ensuring that EU farm payments are shared more fairly. She will also be exploring the potential for a Land Value Tax.
She said: “Agriculture is a key sector for the South West and one in which both the UK and EU invests heavily. Yet this investment does not ensure the best outcomes for small farmers or the environment. We hope that changing the tax system and the way that the CAP payments are distributed could help to make rural livelihoods more sustainable.”
Professor Scott Cato will travel to Devon from London, where she is debating Land Value Tax with Business Secretary Vince Cable the previous evening and will go on to a public meeting in Bristol about the threat to our food and farming system from supermarkets.