South Lakes MP Tim Farron has accused the Government of decimating hill farming in Cumbria after they refused to extend a payment scheme.

The Government's current proposal is to phase out the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and replace it with the Environmental Management Scheme (EMS).

At a conference last week Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary Theresa Villiers dismissed calls from the National Farmers Union and others to delay the phase-out of the BPS, which currently makes up 85 per cent of the income of English livestock farmers.

The Government aims to phase out BPS from 2021 and replace it with the EMS from 2024, but Westmorland and Lonsdale MP, Mr Farron said there are “serious concerns about a lack of detail about how the new scheme would work”.

Accusing the Government of being “completely cloth-eared” and ignoring the concerns of Cumbrian farmers, he added: “Removing direct payments without a clear alternative in place will massively undermine our farming."