Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if her Department will make an assessment of the potential impact of withdrawing the basic payment scheme from uplands and less favourable areas on the economy.
In September 2022, the Government published an update to its Agriculture in the UK Evidence Pack. This publication included static analysis showing the profitability of farms in the absence of Direct Payments for the years immediately prior to the start of the agricultural transition. In 2019 the Government published the farming evidence compendium. This publication provided an in-depth assessment of the impacts of removing Direct Payments with analysis by sector, location in England and type of land tenure. This publication also provided analysis on how farm businesses, across all sectors, can offset the impact of Direct Payments.
Upland farms are experienced in participating and profiting from agri-environment schemes. The payment rates for new environmental land management schemes provide the largest profit margins on the least productive land. This means farms in uplands areas are well placed to benefit from many of the options in our future farming schemes.
The Government is reinvesting the money freed from Direct Payments to our other schemes for farmers and land managers. We are offering ongoing payments and one-off grants to improve farm productivity, benefit the environment and support sustainable food production. Farmers affected by the phasing out of Direct Payments can also receive free business advice and support through the Future Farming Resilience Fund.