When the UK exits the European Union, it will also withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP supports farmers through subsidies to ensure a consistent supply of affordable food to EU citizens. It also outlines rules and standards which focus on tackling environmental challenges linked to agriculture. Nearly 40% of the EU budget is allocated to the CAP and British farmers receive around £3 billion in CAP subsidies. So the CAP is important, but it has also been widely criticised.
This policy is a promise to devise an “agri-environment system” which would replace the CAP after Brexit. Developing such a system for the whole of the UK will necessarily involve addressing the specific needs of farmers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In January 2018, the government published a briefing paper, Brexit: Future UK agriculture policy, which outlined key questions and elements of emerging policy.
A consultation paper, Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit, was published in February 2018. The wide-ranging consultation received 43,356 responses and 127,183 signatories across three petitions.
Following the consultation, the Agriculture Bill was laid before Parliament in September 2018. A statement setting out the long-term agricultural policy was also published, along with an implementation timeline.
This is vast policy area but it is certainly ‘in progress’. We will move it to ‘done’ once there is evidence that a new agri-environment system is ready “to be introduced in the following parliament”. We’ll keep tracking, so follow this policy for further developments.
- The common agricultural policy at a glance – European Commission
- Britain’s farmers get £3bn a year from the inefficient CAP. That has to change – Dieter Helm
- Brexit: Future UK agriculture policy – Parliament.uk
- Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit – Gov.uk
- Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit – policy statement – Gov.uk
- Health and harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a green brexit – policy statement: Timeline – Gov.uk