Farmers are complaining about the prices they get for their hard work and the EU’s ‘red tape’. They are hoping for a new, fairer deal by leaving the EU in June.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was not designed to help British farmers and takes little notice of the very different methods used in the UK compared to much of the rest of Europe. It has been said to hinder, not assist, our farmers in their work.
One of the farmers biggest worries seems to be the loss of farming subsidy if we leave the EU but George Eustice, the UK’s Farming Minister, has confirmed that subsidies will not only be maintained outside the EU but actually be increased in many cases. This can be done because the CAP currently costs the UK at least £16 billion per year, some sources put it even higher at £18 billion, but very little of that actually reaches our farmers in the UK. The bulk of it is spread around the remainder of the EU; once we stop sending it abroad we will not only reduce the tax burden on the UK taxpayer but be able to increase these payments to our farmers. All this, and far less ‘red tape’ which merely reduces efficiency and increases costs.
There are other benefits too. Outside the EU animal welfare can be vastly improved including increasing the maximum penalty for deliberate cruelty to animals, prevent testing by companies on animals and ban the export of live animals for slaughter amongst many other improvements currently hard, or impossible, to enforce under EU rules.
Leaving the EU and returning to a British system, run for UK farmers and overseen by the UK government in Whitehall, as it was before we joined the EU, appears to be a ‘win-win’ situation for all involved. It is hard to see why many farmers, but by no means all, are against the idea.