UFU concern for rural communities- Government budget cuts set to hit rural areas hard

Tuesday, 7 October, 2014

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has expressed its’ concern for rural communities as Government Departments across the NI Executive are forced to make budget cuts as a result of the financial crisis at Stormont.

UFU President Ian Marshall said: “The UFU has been closely following the Stormont financial and budgetary crisis and by the day we are becoming more and more concerned. Services in rural communities are usually the first to be hit when it comes to situations like this and it looks like this time is no exception. Last week, PSNI chief constable George Hamilton announced that many policing programmes in rural areas may have to be cut or cancelled as a result of the budget cuts being forced on him by the financial debacle at Stormont. This is a huge blow to our rural communities and it is deeply worrying that the good work that is already happening on the ground is possibly in jeopardy. In recent years, rural and agri-crime rates have continued to rise and with services potentially scaled way back I wouldn’t like to guess what 2014’s total figures will look like.

“With all Government departments under budgetary pressure we have growing concerns about what this means for services in rural communities. In particular, we have serious concerns about the possible cuts that DARD will have to implement and what this will mean for the vital front-line farming services.”

The UFU continues to closely monitor the situation.