Over 100 tractors rally outside parliament as concern over policy grows

Monday's protest was organised by campaign groups Fairness For Farmers and Save British Farming (Photo: Fairness for Farming/Facebook)
Monday's protest was organised by campaign groups Fairness For Farmers and Save British Farming (Photo: Fairness for Farming/Facebook)

More than 100 tractors rallied outside the Houses of Parliament as part of the industry's latest protest against the direction of government policy.

Tractors taking part in the go-slow protest on Monday evening (25 March) made their way through central London's streets to Westminster.

Some were flying the Union Jack flags, others were carrying signs with phrases such as 'Save British farming' and 'no farming, no food, no future'.

Organised by campaign groups Fairness For Farmers and Save British Farming, the industry's latest protest surrounded three key demands.

These include a ban on substandard food imports, a ban on 'dishonest' labelling and more measures to boost British food security.

Save British Farming warned that farmers across the country were 'fed up of the substandard imports pouring into Britain'.

It added that without farmers and land safeguarded for food production, "there will be no food."

The group said: "We have signed such bad trade deals which really need to be ditched and we need to rid the trade barriers with our nearest neighbours to allow UK farmers access to markets.

"What we are asking for is a government plan on food and a fairer marketplace - whether that is with other countries or supermarkets."

Geoffrey Philpott, a cauliflower grower who farms in East Kent, said the protests, including the recent one in Canterbury, were mainly centred on the need to restrict cheaper food imports.

“I am proud to have a Union Jack on all my produce, but why is it foreign produce that is packed in the UK can have a Union Jack on it?" he asked.

"The only reason is to deceive the public into believing it’s the healthiest and safest food you can buy."

He said food security was another top issue: "I hope to be farming for many years to come, but if things don’t change, I won’t be and I won’t be employing the fourteen people who work for me.

"Then we will be reliant on foreign produce that will not have the high standard of UK production. Once that happens, we could be held to ransom over pricing.

"Let’s hope people wake up quickly and support British agriculture so I can continue to farm for many years to come and supply healthy, safe produce for UK people.”

Elsewhere, in Wales, over 10,000 farmers took to the streets of Cardiff recently due to rising anger at the Welsh government's Sustainable Farming Scheme (SFS) proposals.

In its current form, the SFS, Wales' post-Brexit system of support, stipulates that farmers must have at least 10% tree cover on their land and a further 10% for wildlife habitat.

However, a recent impact assessment commissioned by the government found that the SFS risked reducing 122,000 livestock units, representing a 'shocking' 11% fall.