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£5,000 for every farmer

A proposal to revolutionise farm subsidies, by providing a single, standard payment to everyone who farms at least one hectare, comes from the New Economics Foundation and Global Justice Now.
 

Two Sustain members, the New Economics Foundation and Global Justice Now, have teamed up to produce a plan for agriculture after Brexit -- contributing to a stream of proposals emerging now that agricultural policy is, in Global Justice's words, 'up for grabs'.
 
The report focuses on agricultural subsidies, which are widely seen to incentivise inappropriate forms of land use, and also to reward the owners of large tracts of land who are only nominally engaged in 'farming'.
 
Its most radical suggestion is that each active farmer with at least one hectare of land should be given a universal payment of £5,000. The authors argue that this would greatly redistribute the available funds among farmers, and would level the playing field for small-scale producers while reducing the total amount of public money devoted to income support. The payment would be conditional on a small number of minimum standards, including basic environmental stewardship.
 
The argument is that this new subsidy system, applied in tandem with grants for infrastructure (such as processing equipment) and additional subsidies for public goods, would provide a workable and progressive alternative to the status quo. In a more outspoken Policy Briefing accompanying the report, Global Justice Now says that it would represent a move from 'handouts to the super-rich to a hand-up for small-scale farmers'.
 
Read the Report, Agricultural subsidies in the UK after Brexit,  here and  the Policy Briefing here. Find out more here about Sustain members' hopes and fears for post-Brexit food and farming. 

Published 6 Jan 2017

Sustain: Sustain The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity.

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