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Tractors Gather at Parliament in Farmer Go-Slow Protest

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Central London witnessed a spectacle last night as over 100 tractors paraded past the iconic Houses of Parliament, echoing the discontent of farmers over what they perceive as inadequate support for UK food production.

Amidst a cacophony of blaring horns, convoys navigated through the streets to Westminster, orchestrated by organisers Save British Farming and Fairness for Farmers of Kent. Their rallying cry focused on the perils posed by cheap food imports and policies deemed unsupportive, which they argue endanger the country’s food security.

Tractors adorned with Union flags traversed London, bearing banners proclaiming ‘Save British farming‘ and ‘No farming, no food, no future’. Voices of protest rang out, encapsulated by sentiments like those of 21-year-old Ben Stickland from West Sussex, who declared, “I’m here for my future. There are multiple nails being put into this coffin built around us.”

This demonstration echoes a wave of discontent sweeping through Europe, with farmers in various countries expressing outrage against European Union regulations and the influx of inexpensive imports. In Wales, thousands united against new farm subsidy plans.

Colin Rayner, a farmer with vast arable land across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, expressed the dire straits many face: “We have been living in our overdraft for the last five years. We can’t see it getting any better.” He highlighted the challenges posed by stagnant yields, dismal prices, exorbitant raw material costs, and burdensome regulations.

Criticism is aimed at the government’s farm payments scheme, which prioritizes environmental concerns over food production. Rayner lamented, “They want us to rewild the countryside. I just ask, how are they going to feed the people living in the towns?”

Campaigners argue that government policies, weak trade deals, lax import controls, and misleading labeling threaten the nation’s ability to feed itself, imperiling food security.

In response, farming minister Mark Spencer assured support, emphasizing that agriculture remains pivotal in trade negotiations and unveiling measures to limit land diversion from food production.

Despite government assurances, doubts persist among farmers and campaigners who demand a radical policy overhaul to safeguard British food production and uphold high standards.

Amidst the discord, the government remains steadfast, asserting its commitment to supporting farmers and ensuring food security while grappling with the complexities of modern agricultural policy.

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