CAP subsidies should now look to divert the focus of farming to ‘unlocking growth in rural areas’.
CAP funding and powers should ‘leapfrog’ from the EU to devolved areas post-Brexit with a strategic farming policy that is better connected to local economy, the latest think-tank IPPR North report said.
It suggested farmland rules and funding for agriculture far too often failed to link to local economies and as a result was leading to a much wider economic impact.
Rural devolution deals should be incorporated by the government and limited funding should be prioritised, the report said, including a focus on communities, flood management, food production and local labour markets.
To make it a success, Anna Round, senior research fellow at IPPR North, said a devolved, targeted approach was necessary.
She said: “The economy in rural areas is by its nature hugely diverse and covers much more than the ‘tractor and tourism’ stereotype but also hotspots of high-tech businesses such as advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and digital innovation.
“At a national level, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get a farming policy that really works for the UK.”
The report said the vast variation of rural economies meant a more devolved approach would be best: subsidies should be focused on flood management, UK domestic food needs and boosting food exports.
Rules on land management can make the different between a business being flooded or not.
IPPR North director Ed Cox added: “The vote to leave the vote was a big vote against the status quo and to take back control.
“Devolution to people, councils and communities is essential as we leave the European Union in rural areas just as much as cities.”