The CAP is the EU’s most ineffectual and wasteful policy in a competitive field. Escaping it will allow UK agriculture to become smarter, more competitive and agile, says farmer and Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe.
The biggest misconception of the whole Brexit debate is the idea of ‘European Money’, and many in the agriculture industry have fallen for the EU’s propaganda hook, line, and sinker.
Any subsidy we receive as farmers is recycled British taxpayers’ money, which has a huge chunk taken out and a host of terms and conditions attached.
For too long, the industry has used the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as a crutch and we have been let down by Government incompetence and EU greed.
It is an environmental disaster, a monumental waste of money and it breeds confusion and laziness.
The Kafkaesque level of bureaucracy means farmers are swamped with rules and micro-management – all the way down to how wide the edge of field strips must be.
Government ineptitude leads to late or non-existent cheques, which makes rational financial planning impossible.
Not to mention the damage the CAP does to developing markets and the knock-on effect that has on consumers.
For all of the European Union’s ill thought-out policies, the CAP must be the most ineffectual and wasteful in a very competitive field.
Brexit offers us a wonderful opportunity to cut down this bureaucratic behemoth and make legislation work better for farmers, consumers and the environment.
Government can allocate subsidies on a smarter, more effective and fairer basis meaning British taxpayers will get better value for money.
Farmers want the Government to reduce red tape, cut compliance, simplify data returns and make sure we spend our time where it’s needed – getting our hands dirty on the farm, not stuck in the office.
There needs to be a genuine debate about whether a regulation is necessary or justified.
The breadth of EU agriculture legislation is stunning – in almost every EU parliamentary session, hundreds more rules and regulations are adopted.
It is legislation for the sake of legislation and these same mistakes must be avoided.
One exception to this is animal welfare. I am proud of the UK’s track record on this and our animals need to be properly cared for.
We should continue to support and protect our industry, but do it in a way which works for everyone, not what a bureaucrat in Brussels decides who has never stepped foot on a British farm.
A smart, competitive and agile agriculture industry awaits us when we finally escape the CAP.
Rupert can be found tweeting at @RupertLowe10