Tories pledge Rural Payments overhaul

Shadow Defra secretary Nick Herbert has branded the Rural Payments Agency “a shambles and a disgrace”, and committed his party to its overhaul.

Speaking at the NFU annual conference, Herbert said the agency “had made farmers’ lives a misery”, and that “no minister had taken responsibility for its failure”.

The Conservatives, were they to be elected, would make the farming minister take over the chairmanship of the Rural Payments Agency Board, he added.

"We want to get a grip of this organisation, and show farmers where the buck stops," said Herbert.

The shadow minister also announced a series of pledges, including the protection of the most fertile farmland, the implementation of a review within three months of taking office to reduce burdens, and a pledge to implement legislation on country of origin labelling, if the Code of Practice fails.

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