RICHMOND MP Rishi Sunak wants Defra officials working on a new British Agricultural Policy to visit North Yorkshire and talk to farmers.

He told a farmers meeting in Leyburn that it would be good for civil servants drawing up the arrangements that will replace the Common Agricultural Policy to meet farmers and understand the practicalities of their day-to-day lives.

Mr Sunak said: “We are all too familiar with the shortcomings of the way payments are handled at present and the headaches they cause. I think it would be really useful if the officials working on the new payment system came and spoke to farmers about the frustrations around the administration of the current Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).”

He said that the UK’s exit from the European Union was a golden opportunity to set up a new, less bureaucratic, support system tailored to the needs of British farmers.

“I would like the people drawing up the new rules for Britain’s farm support system to get face-to-face feedback from the people who have been grappling with the current system administered by the Rural Payments Agency within rules set by Europe. We must have simpler and easier to understand administrative arrangements."

Mr Sunak, who was speaking at a meeting in the Bolton Arms organised by Barclays Bank, said it was imperative that more was done to promote British farming produce post-Brexit and wanted more of the levy money farmers contributed to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board spent on campaigns to alert consumers to the benefits of buying UK-produced food.

He said: “I think the consumer is receptive to that message but at the moment it’s not as strong or as focussed as it might be.”

There was debate about the current deal negotiated for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and about the contents of the Agriculture Bill which sets out the broad principles of the farm support system that will replace the CAP.

At the event, Mr Sunak also met Liam Brittain who has just started a degree apprenticeship with the bank.