The CLA has published a new policy briefing which sets out the case for delaying the start of transition from direct payments by one year and highlights five further actions required to achieve a fair transition for all farming businesses.
The paper argues that a fair transition for the farming industry should have five components:
- Full details of remaining direct payment for the whole of the 7-year agricultural transition period within 3 months of the Agriculture Bill being enacted or 12 months before direct payments are cut.
- Ensure the profile of direct payment cuts is proportionate and manageable in the early years of transition with no business having more than a 25% cut from their original amount before ELMS is fully available.
- The cuts in direct payment can be no more than is needed for investment in productivity growth and ELM pilot payments to farms only.
- Introduction of a large-scale Business Adaptation Programme to facilitate business change.
- Funding should reflect the scale of need for industry transformation and environmental targets rather than being constrained by allocating the current CAP budget.
The CLA President Mark Bridgeman said: “While there are many good things in the Agriculture Bill, the design of transition away from direct payments still poses significant risks to farming businesses, productivity and the environment, and does not recognise the 18-month delay in passing the Bill.
“Given that Government has made slow progress in publishing details of how this transition will work – not to mention the scale of the disruption being created by COVID-19 – it is clear that delaying the transition is now absolutely necessary.”