The conclusion of the Efra Select Committee report into the
government’s ‘Vision for the Common Agricultural
Policy’ that the CAP should be scrapped and replaced by
a new rural policy is “disappointing” and “naïve”,
the NFU said today.
NFU President Peter Kendall said: “We find the committee’s
conclusion naïve. This is a time when food, energy and environmental
security is more important than ever before. The CAP must certainly
evolve in the future, but it is essential that these are not jeopardised
in a scramble to scrap the CAP.”
The NFU agrees the government’s tactics in launching the
Vision were naïve. We said at the time that it lacked rigour
and was more likely to antagonise than persuade other member states,
and this has proved to be the case. It is one of the factors that
led to a poor allocation of rural development funding to the UK.
The NFU is also disappointed that no mention is made of the need
to maintain fair competition. If the CAP is to be reformed, it
must happen equally across the European Union, and other global
competitors like the USA must also dismantle their trade distorting
subsidies. It is also disappointing that there is no recognition
that the food chain needs to work properly, allowing farmers the
opportunity to make sustainable profits.
Finally, while the NFU accepts that there will be a growing emphasis
on rural development, it is important not to leap to judgment before
a proper assessment of current policies is complete. The NFU’s
current experience of rural development does not fill us with confidence
that the money is always being spent constructively.
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