Lib Dems promise an extra £1bn a year for ELMS

The Liberal Democrats have published their 2024 election manifesto, titled For a Fair Deal. Farmers Guide takes a look at what it’s promising for food and farming.

Lib Dem badge on a Union Jack flag

The Lib Dems have promised to stand up for British farmers in their manifesto, taking a swipe at what they call the Tories’ “botched transition away from the Basic Payment Scheme”.

Whilst the party supports ‘public money for public goods’, it said new payments are not being fully rolled out or properly funded.

Among its election promises for food and farming are an accelerated rollout of the Environmental Land Management schemes – and an extra £1bn a year.

READ MORE: General Election 2024: What could the next govt mean for farming? 

Trade deals

Trade deals have been an important bone of contention between farmers and the Conservative government, as controversial deals with Australia and New Zealand risk undercutting British farmers.

The Lib Dems are promising to give farmers the ability to trade with European neighbours with ‘minimal need for checks’. 

They plan to achieve this by ‘negotiating comprehensive veterinary and plant health agreements’.

The Tories’ “botched deal” with the EU is also contributing to food shortages and high food prices, the party said.

Additionally, new trade deals ‘undermine animal welfare and environmental protection, undercutting responsible British farmers and setting a dangerous precedent for future deals’.

Key allies

The party referred to farmers as ‘key allies’ in tackling climate change and the nature crisis – but said their ability to do this is under threat.

It referred to rises in energy, fertiliser and feed bills, adding: ‘It is hardly surprising we have seen food shortages in the supermarkets.’

The manifesto also pointed to high food prices: ‘Too many families simply can’t afford enough healthy, nutritious food. 

‘Ultra-processed foods, high in saturated fat, sugar and salt, are usually much cheaper than healthier foods – contributing to serious health problems, especially among poorer households.’

READ MORE: General election 2024: Which party will do most for British farming?

Lib Dem policies for food and farming in full:

  • Introduce a holistic and comprehensive National Food Strategy to ensure food security, tackle rising food prices, end food poverty and improve health and nutrition.
  • Accelerate the rollout of the new Environmental Land Management schemes, properly funding it with an extra £1 billion a year to support profitable, sustainable and nature-friendly farming.
  • Maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards in food production and guarantee that all future trade deals will meet them too, ensuring that Britain’s farmers and food manufacturers are not put at an unfair disadvantage.
  • Give Britain’s farmers the ability to trade with our European neighbours with minimal need for checks by negotiating comprehensive veterinary and plant health agreements.
  • Support farmers properly in restoring woodland, peatland and waterways, creating new natural flood protections and managing land to encourage species recovery and carbon storage, while producing food for the table.

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