West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has quizzed a Government Minister regarding plans to support the local growers supplying crops for beer, cider and perry.
Harriett joined a group of MPs calling for dedicated support measures for hop growers who have been affected by the reduced demand for beer across the UK as a result of the national lockdown.
And the MP took part in a meeting with DEFRA Minister Victoria Prentis to discuss the challenges faced by growers producing crops for the brewing industry – and the extra challenges also faced by local apple farmers.
Harriett has discussed the challenges with local hops growers and visited Commonwood Farm, near Tenbury Wells, last week, to meet with local farmers and the National Cider Makers Association.
Harriett said: “I have talked to a range of local growers over recent weeks to get briefings on the challenges they face as the country starts to unlock the economy and return to hospitality venues to eat, drink and be merry.
“However, the picture is challenging for local farmers and reduced demand has caused a serious knock on effect for this year’s orders of hops, apples and pears for the brewing industry.
“I’ve raised their concerns directly with the Minister and have passed back some specific suggestions of support available to local farmers and I’ll keep pressing both the Treasury and DEFRA Ministers to make sure the best possible assistance is available to help them to bounce back this summer.
“The Chancellor has delivered unprecedented support for local businesses including the furlough scheme, guaranteed bank loan support and grants but as we plan to get out of lockdown, it is important that the Government’s support reaches those who need it.”
Photo: Harriett Baldwin MP, Bruce and Sarah Starkey and Mark Hopper at Commonwood Farm, in Knighton on Teme.