National Trust Comments on Farm Financing Cause Debate

UK - Landscape protection charity the National Trust has said that in the wake of the Brexit vote, the subsidy system that supports farmers should be fundamentally changed.
calendar icon 4 August 2016
clock icon 1 minute read

Currently, many of Britain’s farmers receive subsidies and income support through the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

However, the organisation said that the current funding regime is flawed, due to its limited emphasis on protecting nature and its funding award system based on the amount of land owned.

"Unless we make different choices, we will leave an environment that is less productive, less rich and less beautiful than that which we inherited," said the National Trust's Director-General, Dame Helen Ghosh.

"Taxpayers should only pay public subsidy to farmers in return for things that the market won’t pay for but are valued and needed by the public."

The Trust said this includes wildlife, plants, soils and flood protection.

In response, the National Farmers Union (NFU) President Meurig Raymond said: “The picture the National Trust is trying to paint - that of a damaged countryside - is one that neither I nor most farmers, or visitors to the countryside, will recognise.

“In this debate we must not forget that food production is vital. We should not be contemplating doing anything which will undermine British farming’s competitiveness or its ability to produce food.

"To do so would risk exporting food production out of Britain and for Britain to be a nation which relies even further on imports to feed itself."

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