The Agricultural Bill

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The future of the Basic Payment Scheme has been at the forefront of many UK farmers concerns when it comes to the impending withdrawal from the European Union, and with Brexit getting closer the government have released a proposed Agricultural Bill to make the future look slightly clearer.

The Bill introduces a ‘public money for public goods’ system that provides financial support for improving air and water quality, soil health, providing habitats for wildlife, reducing flood risk, preventing climate change, improving public access and maintaining drystone walls. With this in place, parliament plans to phase BPS out over the next seven years, starting with reductions between 5% and 25% depending on payment band.

Here’s what to keep in mind:
– BPS will see no real change in 2019 however slight simplifications may be made. Phasing out shall begin 2021-2027. Current agricultural subsidies shall remain available for the life of this parliament (2022).
– Following the Health and Harmony paper, agricultural payments are to be ‘de-linked’ from ‘the requirement to farm the land’.
– The payments reduced may be calculated on payments currently received which allow farmers to invest in their practices or holdings.
– During the transitional period farmers receiving BPS will see starting reductions between 5-25%, those with higher payments seeing a higher starting reduction (25% max).
– 2027 will be the last year for BPS with no further payments.
– Parliament are working on a new scheme ‘Environmental Land Management’, trials for this will begin in 2019, pilots starting in 2021, intending to be up and running by 2025.

With this information, farmers and land owners receiving BPS may begin planning for the future and reduced payments. If you require further specialist advise with regards to this matter, please contact a member of our agricultural team on 01423 860322.