Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 25th October 2018.

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David Baldock:

The main difficulty with the current CAP regime is its bias towards control of very often the wrong thing—micromanagement of farm boundaries and of the way data is gathered and reported. Instead of getting the big picture of what is happening on a farm and how it is complying with its broad obligations, we have a highly burdensome system that, at the end of the day, does not really add a lot of value to the public purse or public transparency. It would be very welcome if the Government were able to shift that whole delivery system so that it focused on real outcomes and was more farmer friendly.

I was involved in the beginning of the cross-compliance discussion in Brussels. At that time, the whole idea was to take out the very worst farmers—to put under scrutiny people who committed large-scale abuse of livestock and so forth. It has become a micromanagement tool for worrying about individual farmers, with ear tags for livestock and a whole process around that. It has completely disappeared into a bureaucratic process. There is a great opportunity here to change that culture and delivery system.