The UK government has announced funding for the agriculture sector aimed at replacing the payments farmers currently receive from the EU.
The funding, worth nearly £3bn (€3.53bn) in total, will replace the Direct Payments scheme, which subsidises agriculture throughout the EU under the Common Agricultural Policy. Funding will be made available across the next two financial years; and includes provision for shoring up long term development funding farmers receive from the EU until 2023. 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. We are committed to making sure our rural communities feel the benefits of Brexit and will ensure our farmers get a better deal.”
The Scottish government will receive £473m over two years to support farming in Scotland; while the Northern Irish government will receive £294m and the Welsh government will receive £243m. Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said: “This funding demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to providing certainty and support for Wales’ farmers. It also highlights the vast opportunities available to us as we leave the European Union. Taking back control of this funding will allow us to better represent the people we serve, ensuring that our farming communities have exactly what they need to flourish after we leave the European Union.”
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 made available from late 2020, with the majority of payments to be released in the 2020-21 financial year.