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Letters – Most farmers I’ve met during the campaign are desperate to leave the EU

Dear Editor,

Paul Brannen (Echo, June 10) states that anyone who cares about farmers and the countryside should vote to stay in the EU. He goes on to quote two organisations which have received millions of pounds in ‘EU funding’ and says that they want to stay in. Well they would say that; they’ve effectively been paid to! Just remember that ‘EU funding’ has come from our taxes in the first place.

Of course, those who care about animal welfare should vote to Leave the European Union; whilst we’re in the EU we’re powerless to ban the live export of animals.

As for farming, his points are significantly at variance with my experience: most farmers I’ve met during the campaign are desperate to leave the EU. Indeed, although Paul Brannen cites Farmers Weekly, the Farmers Weekly poll found that 59% of farmers would vote to leave! Like in many other areas, there’s scaremongering in farming. If we left the EU, of course we’d continue to subsidise farming (as we did before we joined). But we could do that far more efficiently by ourselves, cutting out the middleman and ridding ourselves of some of the more ridiculous rules and regulations which the EU currently applies to our farmers.


Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

Cautious welcome for Lord Heseltine proposals

Local MEP Jonathan Arnott has given a cautious welcome to plans outlined by Lord Heseltine for Teesside after the peer issued an independent report in which he says the Tees Valley can become a “bustling powerhouse of economic activity”.

The report’s proposals include a new development corporation, more starter homes and plans to encourage tourism. It comes in the wake of the closure of Redcar’s SSI steelworks which led to the loss of 3,000 jobs.

Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP, has always been particularly fervent about the need for employment and development in the region, particularly following losses in the steel industry.

“I would love to believe that Lord Heseltine’s 90 page report will actually bring about the economic boost the area so desperately needs. Whilst the report isn’t perfect, he has managed to identify some positive steps forward which could help local people, particularly in Redcar.

“Whether or not our Conservative government is likely to act on this report is the big unanswered question. They have a lot of work to do to counter the local air of cynicism about the so-called Northern Powerhouse.

“It was a huge focus of the campaign to get them elected, but local people are more interested in actual tangible investment and jobs – until now the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has been seen by many as little more than a spin doctor’s catchy phrase masking the reality of underinvestment and lack of interest in the North East,” said Mr Arnott.