The UK government plans to extend its current farming subsidies until 2024 to allow farmers additional time to prepare for changes that will follow Brexit.
In a speech to be delivered to the Oxford Farming Conference, UK environment secretary Michael Gove is expected to announce that current subsidies – worth some £2.6bn per year – will continue until 2024, to make up for an expected shortfall following Brexit.
An initial proposal by the government was to replace the current system in 2022 to no longer be based on land ownership, and instead focus on environmental efforts such as turning fields into wildflower meadows. Now, this will be delayed until 2024 to give farmers five years after the expected Brexit date of 29 March 2019 to prepare for the change in the funding system.
Gove will say that the government’s new scheme in 2024 will support landowners who prioritise planting new woodland and wildflower meadows, increasing biodiversity and providing new habitats for wildlife. In this way, funding will be allocated based on projected positive environmental impact. Gove has previously said that as environment secretary, he will ensure that farm subsidies are earned rather than handed out.
The environment secretary is also expected to detail how the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy will be replaced, and focus on what he sees as inefficiencies in the current policy.