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CPRE comment on post-Brexit agriculture subsidies

4 January 2018

CPRE welcomes Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s announcement today (4 January) that the current subsidy regime for farmers, in which most payments are related to the amount of land owned, will be replaced by a scheme focused on public benefits and enhancing the countryside.

CPRE made the case for this in our 2016 report New Model Farming.

The announcement was made at the Oxford Farming Conference, where Gove set out his plan for post-Brexit agriculture in the UK. He committed to continue the current level of payments until 2024, but will consult on a cap to reduce the amount of money that goes to the largest land owners. From 2024 payments will be made based on the delivery of public benefits, including environmental benefits such as planting woodland and improving soil health, and also wider contributions from farms such as rural resilience and increasing access to farmland for the public.

Belinda Gordon, Head of Rural Policy at the Campaign to Protect Rural England said:

“It is great to hear Michael Gove commit to putting his money where his mouth is and redirecting public money to public benefits. If designed well the new scheme should help enhance the landscapes and countryside from which we know Michael Gove, as well as the rest of us, derives so much pleasure and inspiration. We particularly welcome his recognition of the need to support smaller farms for the vital role they play in rural areas and in maintaining the diversity of our landscapes. The devil will be in detail so CPRE looks forward to working with Defra to develop a policy that will enhance our landscapes and stem the loss of farms from the countryside.”

CPRE believes that diversity in farm size and enterprise is crucial to maintaining England’s world-renowned landscapes and variety of food. Smaller farms are vital to the countryside as they sustain rural communities through jobs and protect distinctive local character. In their diversity of approaches, they create greater diversity in food production and conservation, both of which shape rural heritage and rural economies.

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