Common Agricultural Policy

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Mike Weatherley Mike Weatherley Conservative, Hove

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government has taken to (a) return control of agricultural policy to member states and (b) reduce subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has consistently argued that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) should provide best value for money for taxpayers, not impose undue burdens on businesses or administrations, and provide greater discretion for Member States in its implementation.

We continue to believe that expenditure on market price support and direct payments to farmers under Pillar 1 of the CAP represents very poor value for money. The UK has always made clear that we would like to move away from subsidies in the long run. However, we recognise that there is scope for using taxpayers’ money to pay farmers for public goods that the market otherwise would not reward, such as protecting the natural environment, supporting biodiversity and improving animal welfare. We will shortly be commencing preparation for the next round of CAP reform.

Within the EU budget for 2014-2020, CAP was allocated €362.8 billion (equal to circa €52 billion per year). This amounts to a real terms cut of 13% or €55 billion, which is roughly equal to the annual level of spending on the CAP budget. This was a significant development and made an important contribution to the overall reduction in the EU budget.

Most of the cut was delivered through a cut to Pillar 1 direct payments, which fell from €320 billion over 2007 to 2013 to €277.9 billion. Pillar 2 rural development received €84.9 billion, down from €98 billion.

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