New UK farm subsidy regime proposed

(Gordon Robertson/Creative Commons)

The UK Government is planning major changes to how farming is conducted and how farmers are paid. Legislation introduced to Parliament on 12 September would replace payments linked to land with funding for providing “public goods”. In the seven years after the UK leaves the EU payments based on the amount of land farmed will be phased out, and farmers will instead sign environmental land management contracts.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary said the legislation would deliver a “Green Brexit”. But the National Farmers Union (NUF) cautioned that the changes could endanger food production.

The UK has been bound by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) since joining the bloc in 1973. At present, UK farmers receive around £3 billion a year from the CAP. The Government has pledged to preserve these payments until 2022.  The Agriculture Bill does not specify how much public money farmers will receive after 2022, nor how farming subsidies will be managed.

The Agriculture Bill will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on 10 October 2018.