Belfast Telegraph

The Brexit debate rages at Ballymoney

By Richard Halloran

Debate over the level of subsidies farmers will get in the event of the UK leaving the European Union raged at the Ballymoney Show.

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said local farmers would be better off outside the EU.

Mr Paisley also said the Ulster Farmers Union was morally obligated to have a firm policy on whether the UK should remain or leave the EU. "For it simply to sit on the fence, where EU membership is concerned, just isn't good enough."

He added: "Farmers will fare better if they vote to leave."

Mr Paisley was joined by eurosceptic Conservative MEP Andrew Hannan, who said the UK would be better off to the tune of £1.7bn annually should it leave. He also said food prices may well fall in the wake of a Brexit.

"But farmers would be entitled to larger subsidies under these circumstances," he added.

But the SDLP's Connor Duncan said: "There is absolutely no guarantee that future Westminster governments will make up for the subsidies which farmers would lose should the UK leave the European Union."

Farmers For Action leader William Taylor said he was pushing to have legislation introduced at EU level to guarantee farmgate prices reflected production costs.

"There would also be an additional margin built in, allowing farmers to invest in the future of their businesses. We would never get measures of this nature passed at Westminster," he added.

Belfast Telegraph


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