Farm payments will be guaranteed until the end of the next parliament in 2022 if the Conservative Party is re-elected in June.
The Tories made the pledge in their manifesto, which also contained a promise to work with farmers, ‘environmental experts’ and the devolved administrations to create a new agri-environment system which would be introduced in the following parliament.
CLA president Ross Murray said: “This is much welcomed reassurance from the Conservatives that if they are returned to power they will provide farmers and rural businesses with the certainty they need to plan for the future as the UK exits the EU.
“Guaranteeing the budget until 2022 will ensure farmers can continue to both provide home grown food and support the environment.”
Patrick Begg, rural enterprises director at the National Trust, was less enthusiastic, saying the manifesto was not ‘completely clear’ about what would replace the Common Agricultural Policy.
“The manifesto does provide some certainty about the amount of money up to 2022 if there is a Conservative Government, but farmers and conservationists need certainty about what will replace the CAP and what public benefits it should pay for.”
The long-awaited 25-year food and farming plan was notably absent, though there was a commitment to publish a ‘comprehensive’ 25-year environment plan – leading to suggestions the two plans could have been merged.
Unlike the Liberal Democrats, the Conservatives refused to promise future trade deals would require high safety, environmental and animal welfare standards for food imports.
Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour pledged to extend the remit of the Groceries Code Adjudicator and invest in better flood management.
Labour also promised to ‘rural-proof’ all laws, policies and programmes; extend existing environmental protections; re-instate the Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme and promote ‘cruelty-free’ animal husbandry.
The SNP was planning to publish its manifesto this week but delayed the launch due to the terrorist attack in Manchester. UKIP has yet to release its manifesto.