Gove: ‘Public goods’ payments to replace ‘unjust’ EU farm subsidies after Brexit
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has set out plans for food and farming after the country leaves the EU.
Farming subsidies will be replaced by payments for “public goods”, from boosting access to the countryside to recreating wildflower meadows, Michael Gove has said.
In a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, the Environment Secretary set out plans for food and farming after Brexit, including a switch away from what he called the “unjust and inefficient” subsidies paid through the European Union.
Mr Gove outlined how he wants to see taxpayers’ money going in future years to environmental protection, increasing public access to the countryside, and on technology, skills, infrastructure, and supporting rural communities.
The Government has agreed to maintain current farming subsidies, which are worth about £3 billion to UK landowners each year and most of which are linked to the amount of land that is farmed, until 2022.
Speaking ahead of the Government’s agriculture plans being published in the spring, which will be put out for consultation, the Environment Secretary said he envisaged farm payments continuing for five years from 2019.
During that time, he aims to curb the largest subsidies, with a maximum cap or a sliding scale of reductions.
In the future, taxpayers’ money would only go on paying for public goods that the market does not provide.
The move towards spending money on delivering public goods is part of a four-point plan, which also includes developing a coherent policy on food and giving farmers time and tools to adapt to the future to avoid a “precipitate cliff edge”.