Subsidies

You must earn your keep after Brexit, farmers told

Farmers will lose most of their direct subsidies after Brexit and will have to do more for any remaining support, says NFU deputy president Minette Batters.

“When you have others fighting for funds, such as the NHS, you have to have far closer analysis of where those funds are going, and rightly so.”

NFU deputy president Minette Batters

More than £2 billion a year is paid to farmers based on the amount of land they own but these payments would all but disappear once Britain left the EU, Ms Batters told The Times.

The farming industry also accepted the need for radical reform of subsidies, she said.

In a leading articleThe Times says Brexit presents “an opportunity to craft a smarter agricultural policy”.

The government should keep its promise to continue supporting farmers, says the paper.

But it adds: “Agricultural subsidies need to become smarter. A better policy would protect the countryside and raise productivity.”

Scrapping subsidies altogether would be a mistake because smaller farms would no longer be viable and food prices would rise, argues the paper.

Instead, the “focus should be on providing farms of all sizes with the capital to invest in more productive equipment and training to use it”.

The paper says it is also vital to protect the environment.

“Policies like these can help to keep the land green and pleasant. With a bit of long-term thinking and ambition, it can be profitable too.”

(Source: You must earn your keep after Brexit – The Times; Betting the Farm – leading article )

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