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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Does any party truly care for our farmers?


Even at their lowest ebb, Tory leaders have been able to rely on the countryside vote when it comes to general elections.

While Labour has traditionally been seen as the party of cities, the Conservatives were thought to understand the concerns of the shires. No longer, it seems.

A recent poll of voters in England’s 100 most rural constituencies showed Labour three points ahead. If that carries through to election day, the Tories could be reduced to a parliamentary rump.

Which is why Rishi Sunak yesterday became the first prime minister in 15 years to address the annual conference of the National Farmers’ Union, assuring the delegates: ‘We have your backs.’

But can he win back their trust in the short time available? To do so, he must first acknowledge that his government has hardly covered itself in glory.

Rishi Sunak yesterday became the first prime minister in 15 years to address the annual conference of the National Farmers' Union

Rishi Sunak yesterday became the first prime minister in 15 years to address the annual conference of the National Farmers’ Union

Along with the rest of Britain, farmers and other country folk have been badly affected by the cost-of-living crunch.

High energy costs, spiralling feed, fertiliser and machinery prices and falling margins have left agricultural businesses reeling, with thousands going bust.

Farmers were told that Brexit would bring big dividends, with new export markets and more targeted subsidies. Yet many complain they are receiving less support than under the Brussels regime.

Mr Sunak has unveiled a £220million fund to help farmers deploy new technologies to boost productivity. With food security increasingly important in a volatile world, it makes sense for us to grow more crops.

Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer is offering his own ‘new deal’ (sound familiar?), under which half of all food served in schools, hospitals and prisons would have to be British. There would be cheaper fuel bills, extra cash for flood defences and a new veterinary agreement with the EU.

His environment spokesman Steve Reed promises ‘a decade of national renewal with the countryside at its heart’. Fine words but, of course, words are cheap.

There is dismally little detail on how exactly Labour will achieve these aims.

As long as Sir Keir (who represents an inner London constituency) keeps rural voters in the dark, his plans will be dismissed as unrealistic townie talk.

Sir Keir Starmer is offering his own 'new deal' (sound familiar?), under which half of all food served in schools, hospitals and prisons would have to be British

Sir Keir Starmer is offering his own ‘new deal’ (sound familiar?), under which half of all food served in schools, hospitals and prisons would have to be British

Sinister anti-Semitism

Our birth certificate is arguably the most important and personal identification document we possess. So, for someone to purposely deface it is unforgivable.

Yet this is what a Jewish couple say happened when they sent off their baby daughter’s certificate with a UK passport application. When the document was returned, the father’s birthplace – Israel – had been scribbled out and the paper torn, which they have interpreted as anti-Semitic.

That the person who apparently committed this sinister act was a civil servant is shameful. But this is symptomatic of a wider belief in pro-Palestinian quarters that Israel and its citizens are fair game for attack.

The Home Secretary has ordered an investigation, which must find and discipline the culprit. There is no place for the evil of racism, least of all in Whitehall.

The family of five, who live in Edgware, North London, feel that they have been ‘targeted’ 

Banking on rate cuts

A glimmer of hope yesterday that interest rate cuts are finally on the way.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the technical recession may already be over and that the economy is ‘showing distinct signs of an upturn’.

Household incomes are improving, unemployment is low and strong wage growth should boost prosperity. Inflation, he added, didn’t need to hit its 2 per cent target before the Bank cuts the base rate.

The markets expect it to fall up to four times this year. For hard-pressed Britons, the cuts can’t come soon enough. Interest rates have been kept far too high for far too long.



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