How will Direct Payments change under the ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document?
The UK government has published its landmark ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document today (November 30) as it prepares for life outside the EU from January 1.
The government has laid out how Direct Payments will change post-Brexit for English farmers.Also Read: ‘We are no longer bound by the EU’ – Landmark ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document
Each UK administration has the flexibility to develop agricultural policy suited to their own circumstances.
According to the government, the Direct Payments currently made through the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) offer “poor value for money, reward those with most land, inflate rents and stand in the way of new entrants”.
The document published sets out how Direct Payments will be reduced fairly over the next four years, with the biggest reductions made to the higher payment bands.
Further reductions will be applied until the last payments are made in 2027.
This will help farmers plan and manage their businesses through the transition to the new system.
Basic Payment Scheme
The document also sets out the various steps that have been taken to simplify the BPS for next year, in order to reduce the burden on farmers as they focus on transitioning to the new system.
It was also announced earlier in the year that the greening requirements for BPS customers, which were complicated and historically delivered little for the environment, would be removed next year.
This was documented in the European Court of Auditors 2017 Special Report on greening.
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will consult formally on a proposal to offer lump sum exit payments to farmers who may wish to leave the sector and plans to delink Direct Payments from land for all farmers later in the agricultural transition.