The Agriculture Bill

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The Government’s long-awaited Agriculture Bill is progressing through parliament with a third reading due in December. The Bill will set the framework for the biggest reform to the farming subsidy system for a generation as the UK prepares for its withdrawal from the EU.

Rather than making the most of the opportunity to articulate a detailed food and farming policy to lead the UK food supply chain into the 21st century, the Bill largely focuses on high level frameworks to facilitate further reform to financial support payments to primary producers.

The current BPS mechanism will remain in place for the 2019 and 2020 period, but from 2021 a 7-year transition period begins to the complete removal of direct payments. These are to be replaced by an Environmental Land Management System of which the details are unknown.

Many rural membership organisations continue to lobby on the evolution of the Bill, but it will be important for rural businesses to closer monitor the short and medium-term implications of any detailed information as it emerges over the coming years. Defra published regular updates here.

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