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people shopping at Brockley Market, a local farmer's market held every Saturday in Lewisham
Image: people shopping at Brockley Market, a local farmer's market held every Saturday in Lewisham.

Michael Gove Outlines Post-Brexit Farming Subsidy Plan

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Image: people shopping at Brockley Market, a local farmer's market held every Saturday in Lewisham.

Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove has new plans for the farm subsidy programme that will roll out following Brexit.

Current Subsidy Level Guaranteed

Farmers will be receiving “public goods” payments, such as the ability to plant meadows and have countryside access. Gove assured farmers that the government guarantees their subsidies will remain at their current EU levels at least until the 2022 election. That said, England will experience a “transitional period”.

On the other hand, the National Farmers Union sees this time as an opportunity for a “new deal” for the United Kingdom. Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing, said Gove was leaving “too many questions unanswered.”

Still, a recent report suggests that UK food security may be under threat by Brexit trade deals.

Keeping Farmers Safe

MPs within the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agroecology (APPGA) state that ministers must make a priority of protecting farmers from being undermined by future post-Brexit trade deals. Those deals make it possible to import food produced within lower environmental or welfare standards.

Gove stated that farmers can count on maintaining the same standards that are currently in existence, even after Brexit. He spoke a two different conferences for farmers in Oxford last week. He was speaking before the release of the government’s agriculture strategy to be published in the spring.

£3 Billion Per Year

Today’s payment system provides farmers in the United Kingdom with £3 billion per year. The division is based on the amount of land each farmer owns. After Brexit, the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) from the European Union will be replaced without taking the funds away from the farmers. According to Gove, the CAP “doesn’t reward efficiency” and is “unjust.”

Therefore, the government will be keeping up the current subsidy rate until 2022 when the next election occurs. This gives farmers three years after Brexit with the same subsidy rates. Furthermore, Gove stated that the current payments may even be maintained until 2024 should they pass “consultation.” Throughout that time, Gove explained that the goal will be to create a maximum cap or sliding reduction scale in order to shrink the biggest subsidies.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.