Gove to force arbitrary tests on farmers before they’ll get subsidies. An extension of benefit conditionality?

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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8 thoughts on “Gove to force arbitrary tests on farmers before they’ll get subsidies. An extension of benefit conditionality?

  1. NMac

    Wow, the Nasty Tory Party hits another group who generally support the Tories. I don’t suppose for one minute Gove has consulted any experts, after all he has, “Had enough of experts.”

  2. Christopher Campbell

    Take the hill farms subsidy: look at all the new gi gates, some folds have 4 or 4 gates, why?
    Because you get a new gate, nqa.
    That is an abuse that needs to stop. Gove is useful after all.
    Cunning, crafty, not hypocritical.

  3. hugosmum70

    farmers already have trouble making ends meet. so this will make it worse for them. now,as we are being dragged out of the EU , where we may have problems getting the fresh foods we need if things dont go well (cant say go to plan seeing as none of us seems to know what that plan is), we will be more reliant on our farmers providing what fresh food we can get. i have never agreed with OUR farmers produce being sold abroad while what we need is bought from foreign markets at a much bigger copst,thus pushing our prices up compared to those of the countries we have/are buying from. of course i can remember when we entered the common a young married woman i saw my weekly shopping bill double overnight. and again when we went decimal 3 years later,. says a lot there. but i didnt think it was a good idea to come out after all these years. can only cause more misery in a country bowed down by that commodity.

  4. J Edington

    I agree with everyone who says this is nothing to do with Gove supporting the environment, other than possibly grouse moors. I hate to say it, though, but it could be a good thing changing from the subsidy by acreage. I don’t trust Tories to do this properly but if conditions were set out fairly it could be an improvement. I am not talking about taking subsidies from any genuine farmer, but I despise the many landowners who, having a couple of farms among their shooting estates, are raking in subsidies they most certainly don’t need. That money would be better distributed to smaller farmers who are struggling desperately.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I agree.
      But this is a scheme that will be initiated and administered by Tories.
      Corruption will be built into it.

  5. chriskitcher

    But when the large land owners (Tory Donors) start to realise that they are the losers just see how the U turns start to happen in the run up to 2022.

  6. Jeffrey davies

    Oh dear his mates with big farming companies won’t like that his backhanders could be up the creak

Comments are closed.