Farmers get funding boost ahead of Brexit

NFUS president, Andrew McCornick
NFUS president Andrew McCornick

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The Chancellor has given a welcome boost to UK farmers and rural communities by announcing nearly £3 billion of funding for 2020.

Sajid Javid confirmed the cash will be used to support farmers once the UK leaves the EU this year, allowing them to plan for the future, sow their crops and care for their livestock with confidence.

The UK will leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) Direct Payments scheme, which supports farmers across Europe with subsidies in 2020.  This will be replaced by a new system based on public money for public goods.

The cash injection will allow the funding for Direct Payments for 2020 to continue at the same level as 2019 and supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest. It will guarantee the current annual budget to farmers in every year of the Parliament.

It is in addition to the £206.6 million of funding awarded since the Spending Round to support the farming sector in Scotland and Wales.

Mr 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 – which 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,’ he added.

NFU Scotland’s president Andrew McCornick said: ‘With the UK set to leave the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy on January 31 2020, it is essential the farming industry knows where it stands with regards direct payments.

‘Farm businesses still rely on these payments and, until we see a fairer redistribution of the share of the profit in the supply chain, direct support will remain important for almost all farmers and crofters.

‘Government commitment to continue to fund direct payments when we leave the EU is welcome.

‘When we meet Ministers and MPs at Westminster early in the New Year, we will seek further clarity on this announcement and press for a long term funding commitment to farming.  We will also look for further measures that will help farmers secure a fairer share of returns from the supply chain.’