Town & Coun­try

Country Life Every Week - - CONTENTS -

THE CLA has un­veiled an am­bi­tious pro­posal for re­form on the farm-pay­ment sys­tem that ‘can truly harness the op­por­tu­ni­ties of leav­ing the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy and un­lock a new lease of life for farm­ing, our ru­ral econ­omy and com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try­side,’ says pres­i­dent Ross Mur­ray.

At its crux is the re­moval of the much-ma­ligned Euro­pean Ba­sic Pay­ment Scheme, whereby landown­ers and farm­ers are paid based on the amount of land they own. In­stead, a sys­tem that re­wards those who man­age their land in a pub­licly ben­e­fi­cial way is ad­vo­cated. This new Land Man­age­ment Con­tract would be trans­par­ent, so tax­pay­ers would see where their money is go­ing. ‘There is vi­tal work to be done across our coun­try­side… and these re­spon­si­bil­i­ties bring costs and bur­dens that other busi­nesses don’t have to bear,’ adds Mr Mur­ray. ‘These are con­tracts that any farmer or forester, from the small­est hill farmer to the large es­tate owner, can un­der­take in re­turn for a fi­nan­cial re­ward based on what they con­trib­ute, not the amount of land they own. Re­form of this kind can end the di­vi­sive view that farm­ers are re­ceiv­ing sub­si­dies for noth­ing.’ The Govern­ment has promised to keep over­all pay­ments at the same level un­til 2022 and En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Michael Gove de­scribes Brexit as ‘a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity to re­form how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas’. ‘Seventy per cent of our land is farmed—beau­ti­ful land­scape has not hap­pened by ac­ci­dent,’ he con­tin­ues. ‘Agri­cul­ture is an in­dus­try more sus­cep­ti­ble to out­side shocks and un­pre­dictable events, so fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and mech­a­nisms that can smooth out the vi­cis­si­tudes farm­ers face make sense.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.