Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, has confirmed that farmers will receive almost £3 billion of funding to help them in the transition from the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the new UK funding system, as outlined in the Agriculture Bill.
After months of focus elsewhere, the UK Agriculture Bill was resurrected in the Queen’s speech on 19 December, which details the plans to phase out direct payments following the UK withdrawal from the EU over a period of seven years, to be replaced by a new system of ‘public money for public goods’ and reward for undertaking various environmental measures. Pilot schemes have thus far been thin on the ground, but these new Environmental Land Management Schemes (ELMS) will be designed to reward farmers for work in improving air, water and soil quality and animal welfare and for investing in new technologies and productivity increases.
“The Chancellor’s announcement is welcome news for farmers concerned about the transition and funding under CAP pillar 2 development type projects.
“2019 and 2020 direct payments will be made on the same basis as under the CAP, which is due to end on 31 December 2020 in any case.
“The phasing out of the current direct payments and introduction of the new ELMS will start in 2021 and the payments will disappear completely by the end of 2027 with the new ELMS completely replacing direct subsidies from 2028 and onwards.
“This funding promise will allow 2020 direct payments to be made to farmers at the same level as in 2019 and for EU project funding to be supplemented until 2023.”
Mr Javid had announced that:
“When we leave the EU and are freed from the Common Agricultural Policy, we will be able to support our vital rural communities – who are a cornerstone of life in the UK – with a fairer and less bureaucratic system. Farmers can enter the new year with confidence that they have our backing and will be able to thrive after Brexit.”
Theresa Villiers, Environment Secretary, echoed Mr Javid’s comments saying:
“Outside the EU we will have a simpler, fairer funding system – one that rewards farmers for enhancing our environment and safeguarding our high animal welfare standards. We are committed to making sure our rural communities feel the benefits of Brexit and will ensure our farmers get a better deal.”