SOUTH Lakes MP Tim Farron is calling for a payment scheme considered a lifeline for farmers to be extended until 2024.

At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hill Farming, which Mr Farron chairs, the group agreed to lobby the government to continue the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for another three years.

The government’s current proposal is to phase out the BPS from 2021 and replace it with the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) from 2024.

However, there were serious concerns about a lack of detail of how the new scheme would work.

And last month it was revealed plans for the ELMS had stalled after the Department for the Environment appeared unwilling to spend the £5m which was required to get the tests and trials up and running.

Mr Farron said: “The Basic Payment Scheme is a lifeline for so many farmers.

“Now they are being left in the dark, unable to plan more than 18 months in advance."