East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party MLA Roy Beggs Jr & Cllr Andrew Wilson who both have family connections to farming, called on the U.K. Government and any future NI Executive to reduce the stressful bureaucratic paperwork burden on farmers with any new support system replacing the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
Mr Beggs MLA, UUP Health Spokesperson said “Work related stress is a significant issue and farming has been identified as a particularly high risk occupation. The popular image that farming is a stress free rural life is unfortunately not always the case. A recent survey involving farming families has revealed that bureaucracy paperwork required by DAERA was now causing even greater stress to farming families than the considerable financial pressures from their business.
Roy Beggs said, “A comprehensive overhaul of the administrative burdens facing farmers should be undertaken to a create more user-friendly and less weighty administrative system.”
According to recent research farmers and their spouses have been shown to suffer more anxiety and depression than non-farmers and have a higher risk of psychiatric disorders than corresponding subgroups of the non-farming population.
Roy Beggs MLA added “The farming community are very self-reliant and many farmers do not appear to be accessing the variety of external resources for helping with stress. The Health Trusts need to provide a more targeted information for farmers and rural communities”.
Ulster Unionist Party colleague Cllr Andrew Wilson, who previously worked on European Parliament Agricultural Committee issues for MEP Jim Nicholson from 2011-12 concluded, “With the UK exiting the EU, I would hope that the replacement for the Common Agricultural Payment (CAP) would be more pragmatic and more user friendly.”
We need to remove the current level of administrative burden inherited from the EU. We owe a lot to the farming sector who often work long hours in difficult conditions. We need to do all that we can to help these farmers in our community, as they work day and daily to provide essential food.”