Agriculture: Subsidies

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th August 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

[Suggested redraft] To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of farms at risk of closing down as a result of a new systems of agricultural payments as outlined in the Government's policy paper of 12 September 2018 on health and harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit, what the size of those farms are; and the type of farming undertaken by those farms.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

An error has been identified in the written answer given on 01 August 2019.

The correct answer should have been:

In September 2018, alongside the Agriculture Bill and policy statement, the Government published an ‘Analysis of the impacts of removing Direct Payments’. This provided an overview of the potential impacts to different farm types and sizes of moving away from direct payments and introducing a new system of public money for public goods. It also showed the potential across all sectors for farmers to become more efficient – producing more for less – as a response to any reductions in direct payments.

Direct payments are untargeted, poor value for money, undermine efficiency and productivity improvements, and limit opportunities for new entrants. They have imposed unnecessary bureaucracy on farmers and can inflate rent prices. Some of our most successful and vibrant food-producing sectors of agriculture have never been subsidised. For example the poultry industry, the pig industry and the horticulture industry.

Direct payments are arbitrary payments based on land area that tend to favour larger land owners rather than smaller family farming businesses. In England we will phase out direct payments during an agricultural transition, giving time for farmers to adjust. Phasing out direct payments will free up money so we can reward farmers for delivering public goods, including environmental outcomes and animal welfare. We recognise that some certain sectors are more dependent than others on direct payments but provided that these farmers are delivering public goods, they will be well placed to benefit from the new system.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

In September 2018, alongside the Agriculture Bill and policy statement, the Government published an ‘Analysis of the impacts of removing Direct Payments’. This provided an overview of the potential impacts to different farm types and sizes of moving away from direct payments and introducing a new system of public money for public goods. It also showed the potential across all sectors for farmers to become more efficient – producing more for less – as a response to any reductions in direct payments.

Direct payments are untargeted, poor value for money, undermine efficiency and productivity improvements, and limit opportunities for new entrants. They have imposed unnecessary bureaucracy on farmers and can inflate rent prices. Some of our most successful and vibrant food-producing sectors of agriculture have never been subsidised. For example the poultry industry, the pig industry and the horticulture industry.

Direct payments are arbitrary payments based on land area that tend to favour larger land owners rather than smaller family farming businesses. In England we will phase out direct payments during an agricultural transition, giving time for farmers to adjust. Phasing out direct payments will free up money so we can reward farmers for delivering public goods, including environmental outcomes and animal welfare. We recognise that some certain sectors are more dependent than others on direct payments but provided that these farmers are delivering public goods, they will be well placed to benefit from the new system.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.