Saturday, April 30, 2011

Defra no longer in charge of CAP reform

The NFU's policy director Martin Haworth thinks that UK policy on CAP reform is no longer being driven by DEFRA. Rather the Treasury and the Home Office is in charge. Their priority is seen as being to protect the British rebate rather than British agriculture. The NFU is fighting to ensure that any deal to protect the rebate does not come at the expense of agreeing to cuts in farm support.

The NFU has been forced to give up its opposition to any 'greening' of Pillar One support and has accepted that CAP reform is likely to impose further environmental conditions on subsidy payments. The emphasis now is on ensuring that any measures are fair and achievable.

The NFU clearly considers that its stance has been undermined by that of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) which has advocated ranking environmental mesures alongside food security in importance. NFU president Peter Kendall has described the CLA's stance as a 'noose around our neck' in the negotiations. It had made it easier for policy makers to argue that subsidy payments should be shifted from food production to the environment.

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