CLA President Welcomes New Defra Secretary
The President of the CLA has welcomed the appointment of Andrea Leadsom as Defra Secretary, and is calling on her to reduce uncertainty in the rural economy by making clear commitments on five priority issues.
President Ross Murray said:
“We look forward to working with the new Defra Secretary and her team as farmers and other rural businesses work to make the most of the opportunities, and tackle the challenges, that are ahead.
“Highest on the agenda will be immediate action to reduce uncertainty in the wake of the vote for Brexit. We will be asking Andrea Leadsom to make swift commitments on five priority issues for the rural economy – ensuring direct payments up to 2020; honouring agri-environment agreements; establishing a new food, farming and environmental policy to succeed and better the CAP; engaging in full and clear consultation with farmers; and honouring commitments under current EU structural fund programmes.
“Government and farmers together have a unique opportunity to create better outcomes for the agriculture sector, the rural economy and the environment. We look forward to discussing this opportunity with the new Defra Secretary at the earliest opportunity.”
The immediate commitments the CLA will ask of the new Defra Secretary are:
- All farmers and land managers to continue to receive direct payments, at the same level as they have budgeted to expect, up to the end of 2020, whatever the timeframe for the UK’s exit from the EU.
All existing agri-environment agreements to be honoured through to the end of their contracted terms and agri-environment schemes which are currently open for applicants must remain so.
A fully funded food, farming and environmental policy to be in place and ready to be implemented before existing support is removed.
All other investments committed to under EU structural funds must be honoured by the UK Government up to the end of the current programme.
The policy development
process to be fully transparent, with clear milestones and consultation
with landowners and farmers at every stage. CLA President Ross Murray
“We look forward to helping the Secretary of State and her team as Defra creates a world-leading policy for food, farming and the environment.”