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Tue, 7 April 2020

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Michael Gove to pledge £10bn of farm subsidies after Brexit in Tory U-turn

Michael Gove to pledge £10bn of farm subsidies after Brexit in Tory U-turn

John Ashmore

2 min read

Michael Gove is set to U-turn and tell farmers they can expect to keep £10bn worth of subsidies in the five years following Brexit.


The Environment Secretary will promise to retain the same "basic payment" per acre of land that farmers currently receive under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy until 2024.

Mr Gove will tell farmers that the move will give them the "time and tools to adapt", although he will reiterate his view that the CAP itself is "perverse" and "fundamentally flawed".

In return he will insist farmers do more to protect the environment and open up the countryside to the general public.

The announcement is a huge win for the National Farmers' Union, which has been lobbying the Government to offer its members certainty over the future of subsidies. 

The Tory manifesto had promised to retain the same cash payments farmers currently receive until 2022, but had not committed to matching individual payments to farmers.

Two thirds of the £3bn that farmers get annually from the CAP comes from the basic payments scheme, while overall subsidies account for half of the average farm income.

'GREEN BREXIT'

Speaking at the Oxford Farmers Conference later, Mr Gove will argue that the CAP system creates a series of disincentives that damages British agricultural production and the environment.

"Paying landowners for the amount of agricultural land they have is unjust, inefficient and drives perverse outcomes," he will say.

"It gives the most from the public purse to those who have the most private wealth. It bids up the price of land, distorting the market, creating a barrier to entry for innovative new farmers and entrenching lower productivity.

"Indeed, perversely, it rewards farmers for sticking to methods of production that are resource-inefficient and also incentivises an approach to environmental stewardship which is all about mathematically precise field margins and not ecologically healthy landscapes."

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