Spending Review ‘presents a mixed picture for farmers’ – NFU

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has published the annual Spending Review for the UK yesterday (Wednesday, November 25).

Responding to the Chancellor’s Spending Review announcement today, National Farmers’ Union (NFU) President Minette Batters said:

“Today’s announcement presents a mixed picture for our farmer and grower members.

For farmers in England, it is good news that the government has confirmed its manifesto pledge to maintain existing levels of farm support.

“There is still more detail needed on how we transition to a new domestic agricultural policy and it is crucial we hear more detail on this as soon as possible.”

Funding gaps

Batters continued:

“However, Welsh farmers appear to be facing a significant funding gap of £95 million, compared to existing EU funding.

This is unacceptable and clearly not consistent with the government’s levelling up agenda. The UK government must preserve existing levels of funding for Welsh agriculture.

“Other elements of the Spending Review do provide opportunities for farm businesses.

“The infrastructure investment can be an important source of funding for farmers to drive green economic recovery, continue their transition to net zero and cement their place as world leaders in climate-friendly food production.

“For this to happen, it’s crucial that these funding schemes, such as the Shared Prosperity Fund, are easily accessible for farm businesses.

Flood and coastal defences

“I am pleased that part of this commitment to infrastructure investment includes doubling spending on flood and coastal defences,” she added

Many farmers are still suffering from the effects of catastrophic flooding earlier in the year, so it is vital as a nation we invest more in updating flood defences against more frequent extreme weather events.

“It’s also encouraging to see the government further invest in the rollout of rural broadband and it is absolutely imperative this happens as quickly as possible to ensure the digital divide between rural and urban areas doesn’t continue to widen.

“We will continue to analyse the detail of the Spending Review and what this will mean for farmers and growers, including the purpose of the £572 million allocated to Defra [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] to prepare for the end of the transition period,” she concluded.