£3 billion funding announced for British farmers
Reacting to The Chancellor’s announcement of nearly £3 billion of funding for British farmers for 2020, environment secretary, Theresa Villiers, said: “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.”
The Chancellor, Savid Javid, said the cash will be used to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU next year, allowing them to plan for the future.
Villiers continued: “We are committed to making sure our rural communities feel the benefits of Brexit and will ensure our farmers get a better deal.”
The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Direct Payments scheme, which supports farmers across Europe with subsidies in 2020. This will be replaced by a new system based on public money for public goods.
The cash injection will allow the funding for Direct Payments for 2020 to continue at the same level as 2019 and supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest. The Government says it will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the Parliament.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said: “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.”
The funding will be available from late 2020, as in previous years.
The funding is spread across two financial years. The allocations for each nation of the UK for 2020/21 are:
- £1,751 million for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;
- £449 million for the Scottish Government;
- £231 million for the Welsh Government; and
- £279 million for the Northern Ireland administration.
And for 2021/22:
- £92 million for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;
- £24 million for the Scottish Government;
- £12 million for the Welsh Government; and
- £15 million for the Northern Ireland administration.
The National Sheep Association cautiously welcomed the Government announcement with NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, commenting: “We welcome the announcement of allocated agricultural funding in 2020. Knowing the money is ring fenced and secure offers reassurance for our industry in the coming year as the Government strives to build strong and reliable free trade agreements with the EU and other countries, which benefit industry and support UK production.
“However, this is just the first year of a significant transition, and we are not feeling at all reassured by the indicated reduction of funds allocated for 2021/2022. We are still facing much uncertainty about whether beneficial trade agreements can be struck in time and, if not, we will again be facing the detrimental prospect of WTO tariffs from the beginning of 2021.
“Seeing allocated support dropping during that period of uncertainty is not desirable and we hope Government will recognise this and deliver on its promises of stability throughout 2020 and to recognise the important and valuable work our farmers are doing already to provide public goods and food security for the country.”
NFU Scotland’s president, Andrew McCornick, said: “With the UK set to leave the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy on 31 January 2020, it is essential that the farming industry knows where it stands with regards direct payments.
“Farm businesses still rely upon these payments and, until we see a fairer redistribution of the share of the profit in the supply chain, direct support will remain important for almost all farmers and crofters.
“Government commitment to continue to fund direct payments when we leave the EU is welcome.
“When we meet Ministers and MPs at Westminster early in the New Year, we will seek further clarity on this announcement and press for a long term funding commitment to farming. We will also look for further measures that will help farmers secure a fairer share of returns from the supply chain.”