SHADOW cabinet minister Steven Reed has visited Cumbria to highlight the importance that Labour hold on farming for rural areas such as Cumbria.

The Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs visited Cumbria yesterday, June 12 to accompany three of the counties Labour parliamentary candidates to visit farmers and those affected by issues such as flooding in the county.

Talking about being in Cumbria, Mr Reed said: "It's been a fantastic visit, I think it is so important for politicians to get out and hear what people are experiencing what people are facing on the ground to try and make their lives better, and farmers here in Cumbria like farmers across the country have been really feeling abandoned by the current government for so many reasons.

"Since 2017, 6000 farmers nationally have gone bust, 6,000 farmers and producers because the government just hasn't been giving them the support that they need and yet we rely on the food they produce so Labour wants to change the approach and give farmers the support that they need- we call it a new deal for farmers."

Farmer Anthony Whitfield with Steve Reed at Pelutho Grange Farm in Silloth.Farmer Anthony Whitfield with Steve Reed at Pelutho Grange Farm in Silloth. (Image: NQ staff)

On a visit to Pelutho Grange Farm in Silloth, alongside Penrith and Solway candidate Markus Campbell-Savours, with the shadow minister highlighted three key plans to the News & Star that a Labour government would have for farmers in the county and across the country.

He said: "The single biggest cost that has gone up for farmers is their energy bills, we want to cut their energy bills by setting up GB energy which is a publicly owned company that will direct investment so that we can harness wind, waves and nuclear power- clean energy produced here at home in the UK to cut their energy bills.

"Secondly, public money is spent on buying food, we want more of that food to be British food, so 50 per cent of all public procurement on food, that means food bought for army bases, hospitals, school will be British.

"Thirdly, the Conservative government has erected massive barriers onto trade to Europe, so farmers who are producing good quality British food can no longer export it to Europe because of these trade barriers. Labour will seek a fresh deal with the European Union so it can get those barriers down, get our farmers exporting their high quality British produce into Europe, with more money back into the pockets of farmers."

The Labour Party will today, June 13, release their manifesto to the country, with Mr Reed saying that he hopes farmers in Cumbria will see it's pledges to 'Back British Farming'.

He said: "I know from talking to farmers in Cumbria, but also across the country, how they feel abandoned by this government, they have been signing trade deals for instance that have been undercutting the environmental and welfare standards that British farmers rightly uphold, they need a government that is on their side.

"I hope what they will see from Labours manifesto is that where the Conservatives have let them down and failed them, Labour will back British farming and back British produce because we understand that food security is national security."

The other candidates in the Penrith & Solway seat are:

  • Julia Aglionby, Lib Dems
  • Susan Denham-Smith, Green Party
  • Roy Ivinson, Independent
  • Mark Jenkinson, Conservative
  • Chris Johnston, Independent
  • Shaun Long, SDP
  • Matthew Moody, Reform UK