1,498 Suffolk farm workers have lost their jobs since 1997

Tuesday, 22 May, 2007

David Ruffley MP has today released new House of Commons figures, obtained during his questioning of Barry Gardiner, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which reveal that the agricultural labour force in Suffolk has fallen by 1,498 workers since 1997.

In 1997 the total agricultural labour force in Suffolk was 11,791. In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, the total agricultural labour force stood at 10,293. This represents the loss of 1,498 farm workers in just nine years.

David said:

'These new House of Commons figures reveal the shocking toll this Government has taken on Suffolk's farming community.

'Since 1997 the agricultural labour force in our county has fallen by nearly 1,500 workers.

'The Government's neglect of farmers and mismanagement of their needs has clearly led to this decline. The National Audit Office stated last year that delays administering the single payment scheme cost UK farmers up to £25.5 million.

'This kind of bureaucratic nightmare must never be allowed to occur again. We must do all we can to support our farming community- they are the lifeblood of Suffolk.'