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Bill to ensure farmers are paid in 2020 expected to pass by end of January

A new piece of legislation which will allow the Government to continue to pay farm subsidies in 2020 is expected to be passed by the end of this month, according to a Defra spokeswoman.

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Bill to ensure farmers are paid in 2020 expected to pass by end of January

The Farm Payments Bill was introduced on January 9, and will allow farmers across the whole of the UK to receive direct payments this year.

 

The legislation is only needed as a stop-gap until the new Agriculture Bill, also due to be published this month, is passed by Parliament.

 

It is expected to go through all stages of scrutiny very quickly as it is non-controversial.

 

A Defra spokesman said: “Leaving the EU means we can take back control of agricultural policy and fund our own farm payments domestically.

 

“The legislation we have introduced enables us to make direct payments to farmers for the 2020 scheme year, giving much-welcomed certainty to our farmers and food producers.”


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There is some speculation that the new Agriculture Bill, which will set out a change in direction to the ‘public money for public goods’ model, is to begin its journey through Parliament this Wednesday (January 15).

 

The legislation is expected to be broadly the same as its predecessor, with some tweaks, including a fresh legal requirement for the Government to carry out regular food security audits.

 

Industry groups have already begun to lobby for additional changes to the Bill, though the large Conservative majority makes it less likely that any fundamental reform will take place.

 

Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) chief executive George Dunn wrote to Defra Secretary Theresa Villiers this week to warn tenants could be excluded from support if the legislation has the same provisions as the old Agriculture Bill.

 

He said: “With many tenant farmers restricted by their agreements to use their holdings for agricultural purposes only, they will need the consent of their landlords before entering schemes for the provision of public goods.

 

Engage

 

“Our experience is while many landlords will engage positively with their tenants, there will be a significant number who will seek to frustrate tenants’ access to new arrangements.

 

“We will need legislative provisions to give tenant farmers the ability to participate in schemes where their landlords’ objections are unreasonable.”

 

Mr Dunn also repeated his earlier call for Government to include the Tenancy Reform Industry Group’s (TRIG) recommendations in the new Bill.

 

“If we do not see these recommendations becoming law as part of the Agriculture Bill, it may be some years before we can expect to see new legislation in this area,” he said.

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