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UK government to cut farmer supports by up to 25pc

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Farmers in the UK will see their direct payments cut by up to 25pc under new plans to support farmers as it leaves the EU.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFERA) has said it will continue to pay farmers through an Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, which will start in 2024, for the delivery of public goods with an emphasis on the environment.

It says this scheme will have a far greater focus on the environment than CAP has had and will come at a lower cost.

It will phase out Direct Payments over a seven year agricultural transition period (2021 to 2027), and that the reduction of direct payments will be done in a fair way.

Farmers with direct payments up to £30,000 will see a reduction of 5pc, those receiving £30,000-£50,000 will see a reduction of 10pc, those receiving £50,000-£150,000 will have a reduction of 20pc, while those receiving £150,000 or more will have a reduction of 25pc.

NFU President Minette Batters said: “The new Agriculture Bill and future Environmental Land Management scheme must offer a golden opportunity for UK farming to become a global leader in climate friendly food and farming but what is missing from today’s announcement is how government will honour its commitment to safeguard our food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards.

“It’s imperative we don’t allow those high standards to be undermined in future trade deals by imports of goods which would be illegal for our farmers to produce here.

The ELM scheme will have three tiers, each focusing on different groups of farmers, foresters and land managers.

According to the NFU the three tiers are:

• Tier 1 could be focused on incentivising environmentally sustainable farming and forestry. e.g. cover crops

• Tier 2 could be designed to support land managers to deliver locally targeted environmental outcomes. It would encourage collaboration.

• Tier 3 could be focused on delivering landscape scale land-use change projects e.g. tree planting, blanket bog restoration.

 

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