18th Jul


Media Release 12 – Fair Deal on Cap A Necessity, Says Industry

The CAP coalition, led by the NFU, the CLA and the TFA, met at the Great Yorkshire Show today to reinforce its simple message to Government: it supports policy which ensures English farmers can continue to produce high quality food for the British public.

There are two aspects of CAP reform which give the coalition partners, now numbering 33 organisations representing the interest of the rural economy, reasons to be concerned. The first relates to new environmental conditions which will be placed on farmers and the second is regards to the Government’s firm intention to unilaterally reduce English farm payments by up to 15 per cent.

George Dunn, CEO of the Tenant Farmers’ Association, said: “English farmers are rightly proud of their environmental credentials and their ability to produce world class product for the British public. We are reassured that Defra ministers have listened to the coalition’s concerns with regards the potential gold plating of the future “greening” rules and we pledge publically to work with Owen Paterson and his team to deliver a simple, credible system which implements the new EU requirements in a way that works.”

But on the coalition’s second concern, regarding Mr Paterson’s determination to increase the voluntary modulation rate, already the highest level in Europe, even further to a maximum of 15 per cent, the industry remains deeply concerned.

CLA Deputy President Henry Robinson said: “Government has failed to explain to farmers and land-managers what it intends to use this money for. We believe that it is wrong to start from the premise that the maximum amount of money must be transferred from pillar one to pillar two. What is required is a quantifiable analysis that establishes how any transferred funds will impact on English farmers.”

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said: “I cannot stress strongly enough the feeling of frustration amongst farmers to hear on the one hand, the Government’s backing for British food production, but its determination to disadvantage and undermine English farmers resilience compared to our European competitors on the other hand. Mr Paterson wants us to focus on making the sector more efficient and productive than its global rivals. I just don’t see how cutting English farmers’ payments and channelling more money to environmental schemes that take land out of production and increase costs will do that.

“We know that the Government has to set the deduction rates by the end of the year. Between now and then, we would like to see Defra set out its priorities for rural development, how Government will help us deliver, or at least not hamper, the right conditions for farmers to produce more British food and what is needed by way of transfer rates.

“We need to strike the right balance on rural development objectives and the sector’s resilience and competitiveness. Defra has the flexibility to set the modulation rate initially to less than the maximum 15 per cent. There would then be the option of reviewing the rate upwards in 2017, if a further analysis demonstrates it be necessary.”

Coalition Statement Click here to open PDF

MR: 12  |  DATE: 18 July 2013

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