Local MP, Andrew George, who leads the Liberal Democrats in Parliament on agriculture matters will lead a debate on Britain’s position in the European Common Agricultural Policy at the Oxford Farming Conference tomorrow evening – Wednesday 4th January 2012.
The debate (one of the centre pieces of the Conference) will take place at 6pm at the Oxford Union. The subject of the debate is that “This House believes that British agriculture could thrive outside the European Union”.
Mr George will spar with farmer, NFU rep and MEP, Stuart Agnew, and two representatives from the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs – Millie Wastie and Mark Houlton.
Mr George said: “The European Union’s Common Agriculture Policy has been poorly managed and slow to respond to the changing world market. It has unhelpfully distorted what should be rational market driven decisions. But the alternative would be catastrophic; like jumping from a frying pan into a raging fire.
“It is not just that British farmers would no longer benefit from very significant levels of subsidy whereas their main competitors in Europe would. But being outside the European Common market, British farmers would be stuffed. Britain is not comparable with New Zealand which ditched market support nearly three decades ago. Farmers would go to the wall. Few sectors would survive. Britain would become more rather than less dependent on imports and would lose market share in Europe and elsewhere.”
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