RESPONDING to confirmation that a General Election will be held on Thursday December 12, NFU president Minette Batters said: “Safeguarding Britain’s food producers and our domestic food supply has never been more important. That’s why over the coming weeks the NFU will be engaging with candidates from all political parties to ensure they understand the importance of profitable, productive and progressive farm businesses, both now and in the future.

“We will be looking for any new Government to commit to a food-focused agricultural policy that rewards farmers fairly for producing safe, traceable and affordable food for everyone while protecting and enhancing the iconic British countryside. We’ll need assurance that the government will keep its promise made last February to establish a Trade and Standards Commission to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by any future trade policy. And as we laid out in our net-zero report earlier this year, we’ll need a new government to work with us and other stakeholders to enable British farming to meet its net-zero aspiration by 2040.

“British farming plays a crucial role in providing the raw ingredients that form the backbone of our largest manufacturing industry, food and drink, which is worth more than £120 billion to the national economy and supports jobs for almost four million people. It’s absolutely vital that candidates standing in this election recognise the enormous contribution that agriculture makes to our nation and back British farming.”

Responding to the announcement of a general election, Country Land and Business Association President Tim Breitmeyer said:

“We welcome the news of a general election in the hope that finally this political paralysis might be cured.”

“The political and economic uncertainty faced by rural businesses in recent years has been hugely frustrating. Political parties now owe it to rural communities to lay out robust and ambitious plans to unlock the potential of the rural economy, particularly in recognising the unique role we play in delivering growth and jobs, while answering society’s demands for food production and on the environment.“

“This election is an opportunity for all political parties to regain the trust of the countryside. We hope they take their chance.”