Farmers lose out

Universal credit hits some farmers

An article in the Sunday Times stated that some hill farmers and low paid agricultural workers face losing thousands of pounds a year when the Government’s Universal credit comes in. Although some are earning low incomes, the new system assumes that they earn the national average of £13,644 pa. A farmers association spokesman commented that at least a third earned below this level of income.

A married hill farmer with 2 children earning £6,000 per annum is currently able to increase their income to £23,019 with tax credits. This will drop by £3600 under the new system. An example was given of a hill farmer selling her sheep at £21-£25 which was below her break even figure of £27.

A Cumbrian accountant stated that hundreds of their clients earned below the minimum wage and were likely to be adversely affected.