The Government has pledged to help farmers and other landowners prepare for Britain’s exit from the EU.
Chancellor Philip Hammond has made specific commitments that the Government will fund Basic Payments under CAP Pillar 1 until the end of 2020, citing the vital role that the agricultural community plays. HM Treasury has also said it is “offering the devolved administrations the same level of reassurance as we are offering to UK Government departments in relation to programmes they administer but for which they expected to rely on EU funding”.
Environment Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, responded: “This guarantee of funding is excellent news for our farmers and our environment. It means farmers are assured of current levels of funding until 2020 and any agri-environment schemes agreed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded – even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.
“I’m delighted we can provide this crucial certainty and continuity to our rural communities while we develop a new approach to supporting agriculture and protecting our precious countryside.
“Food and farming are central to our national identity and together they are a bedrock of our economy, generating over £100 billion a year and employing one in eight people.”
The Country Land and Business Association’s (CLA) President Ross Murray said: “This decision is a vitally important first step in preparing for the UK’s exit from the European Union. It will provide a significant degree of reassurance to farmers and other landowners across the country.
“We have been clear, since the start of the EU Referendum campaign, that this is the first decision ministers had to make to reassure rural businesses in the advent of a Brexit vote. It is therefore a strong signal that will give confidence to businesses considering their future in a difficult agricultural market.
“There are of course many more decisions that now need to be made, not least a commitment that there will be a fully funded, world-leading domestic Food, Farming and Environment Policy in place ready to succeed the current system in 2021.”