CLA Reaction to Secretary of State speech to Oxford Farming Conference

04 January 2018

The CLA has welcomed the commitments made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove on farm payments at the Oxford Farming Conference this morning. 

The Secretary of State committed that the Basic Payment Scheme will continue until at least 2022 and be replaced by a system that rewards landowners for delivery of public goods. 

CLA Director of Policy Christopher Price said:

“Exiting the European Union gives us a once in a generation opportunity to build a new food and land use policy that is significantly better than the CAP. This speech is the latest evidence that Government is embracing our vision for a new policy based on rewarding farmers for the range of public benefits they deliver.

“We have been clear that significant change is necessary but it is right to take the necessary time to design and implement a policy without causing immediate and dramatic disruption to thousands of farming businesses across the countryside. We are pleased the Secretary of State has listened to our concerns on this issue and extended the period of operation of the existing basic payment scheme to ensure a full and smooth transition.

“We also welcome the Secretary of State’s commitment that no business entering a Countryside Stewardship scheme will be unfairly disadvantaged. This guarantee will help to give farmers confidence to enter schemes this year and next. We must not lose any momentum in improving participation in environmental schemes. 

“We will consider the forthcoming consultation on capping of payments closely. The Secretary of State has been clear that businesses must be rewarded for what they do, not the amount of land they own. That will not be the case if a poorly thought through and rushed capping policy excludes and alienates businesses simply because of their size.”