Farm groups have welcomed a £3 billion funding pledge for 2020 which they say will give producers confidence as the UK breaks away from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Chancellor Sajid Javid’s announcement means farmers will see the level of funding for Direct Payments maintained at the same rate as 2019. It will also supplement the remaining EU funding that farmers will receive for development projects until 2023 at the latest.
NFU director of EU Exit Nick von Westenholz said: “We are pleased to see this confirmation of the Conservative manifesto commitment to maintain current levels of support, which will provide a degree of certainty and stability for farmers as we enter the critical stage of negotiating our future trading relationships with the EU and other countries in the coming year.
"To ensure a positive outlook for UK farming after we leave the EU the government will need to couple this financial guarantee of support for our industry with a clear-cut commitment that domestic producers will not be unfairly undermined by imports from overseas produced to standards that would be illegal here.
"We are still waiting for the introduction of a council on trade and standards that can advise ministers on our future trade policy and scrutinise the forthcoming negotiations to ensure our high farming standards are not undermined by substandard imports.”
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “With the UK set to leave the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy on January 31, 2020, it is essential that the farming industry knows where it stands with regards direct payments.
“Farm businesses still rely upon these payments and, until we see a fairer redistribution of the share of the profit in the supply chain, direct support will remain important for almost all farmers and crofters.”
The unions will meet with Ministers and MPs early in the New Year to seek further clarity on the announcement and press for a long-term funding commitment to farming.
Mr Javid promised the Government would support ‘vital’ rural communities who ‘are the cornerstone of life in the UK – with a fairer and less bureaucratic system’.
“Farmers can enter the New Year with confidence that they have our backing and will be able to thrive after Brexit,” he added.
Details of the funding: