Michael Gove delivered his speech at WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking.

Farmers will have to satisfy new, arbitrary tests on the environmental and public benefits of their work before they’ll receive a penny in subsidies from the UK government after Brexit, Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced.

Mr Gove reckons farmers have had it too soft under the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy, which subsidises farmers with an amount of money based on the size of the land they own.

He said the current system will be abolished after the UK has left the EU. The minority Conservative government has agreed to continue providing subsidies at the current level of £3 billion a year until 2022, to provide a transition period, but farmers will have to justify the amount they receive afterwards.

His speech stated: “The Common Agricultural Policy rewards size of land-holding ahead of good environmental practice, all too often puts resources in the hands of the already wealthy rather than into the common good of our shared natural environment, and encourages patterns of land use which are wasteful of natural resources and often intrinsically poor value rather than encouraging imaginative and environmentally enriching alternatives.

“This Government has pledged that when we leave the EU we will match the £3 billion that farmers currently receive in support from the CAP until 2022. And I want to ensure we go on generously supporting farmers for many more years to come. But that support can only be argued for against other competing public goods if the environmental benefits of that spending are clear.”

The announcement may come as a shock to the majority of farmers who supported Brexit in the belief that they’d get a better deal.

Instead, they will be told to justify their demand for funding, according to an arbitrary set of rules decided by Tory politicians.

This Writer wonders if farmers will be subjected to the same conditionality currently endured by benefit claimants – with sanctions imposed if they fail to attend meetings or don’t manage to meet an agreed productivity quota.

As for the environmental conditions Mr Gove is suggesting – this is the Conservative government that has deliberately promoted the most heavily-polluting forms of energy generation, while penalising green energy generators and users.

Isn’t it hypocritical of Mr Gove to demand environmental responsibility from farmers when his government has behaved in the exact opposite way?

The public seem to think so:

Regarding the last comment, by Don Coyote, This Writer must disagree. It seems likely Mr Gove is an expert in bull excrement as well. Right, farmers?

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