The total Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) amount lost from the rural economy of the Great South West (GSW) area in England will be £883.7 million by the end of 2027, a new report has said.

The report, Assessing the impact of Agricultural Transition in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset and Somerset: Research to inform future planning, looked into the impact of BPS reductions across the GSW area on a yearly basis and over a ten-year timescale.

It concluded the total estimated reductions for the South West, each year, to be £242.4 million. Broken down further, this constitutes a yearly loss of £51.6 million for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; £99.2 million for Devon; £38.3 million for Dorset; and £53.3 million for Somerset.

By adding these amounts deducted each year, the report concluded the total loss of BPS to the GWS area, between 2021 and 2027, to be £883.7 million.

Going forward

The report noted that it does not intend to highlight the amount of BPS lost to the GSW so that it is swapped for a similar-sized replacement, and it recognises that the future of sustainable farming won't be built on the same old subsidy model.

With that said, the reality of what is happening is not well known, it added. And, by sharing this information, it aims to help a wider range of people and organisations to think proactively about mitigating the adverse impacts of BPS withdrawal on the farming community, business ecosystem and the GSW countryside.

Commenting on the report, National Farmers' Union South West regional director Melanie Squires said:

“The scale of reductions in available funds to businesses laid bare by this report is considerable and can’t be ignored.”

Expressing concern that similar hits will be felt across Wales, Glyn Roberts, Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) president said it is "essential that the Welsh Government consider the evidence provided in this important piece of work".

Developing and expanding existing and new initiatives that connect different elements of the agricultural sector with the wider rural economy is key to mitigate the environmental and economic impacts of these changes in the agricultural transition, the report concluded.