Lead Forensics
Prettys Solicitors Ipswich

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Agriculture Bill - Update

The revised Agriculture Bill was reintroduced to Parliament on the 16th January 2020, with some saying that this is the most significant piece of agricultural legislation in the last 70 years and will change the way that land is farmed for generations to come. The ethos is very much one of “public money for public goods” meaning farmers will be rewarded for the benefits they bring to the environment, the country and its communities.

Currently, the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is a subsidy payment originating from EU legislation and will no longer be available once Britain leaves the EU on the 31st January. The BPS essentially pays famers based on the amount of land they farm, with many seeing this as unfairly biased towards the largest landowners, rather than those arable and livestock producers who create other benefits for the public (such as environmental schemes).

Earlier versions of the draft Bill have been around since 2018 with the key principles always having been to cover off the transitional period (2021 – 2027) between leaving the EU and the point at which the new regime will come into force. The BPS will essentially continue for 2020.

Key Elements to the Agriculture Bill

Is more required?

Whilst many see this as a much needed-shake up a number of agricultural commentators are disappointed that the Bill lacks any reference to ensuring imports from outside the country are held to the same high standards that British farmers are required to adhere to.

In relation to the tenancy reforms, the Tenant Farmers Association feels that further measures are needed to assist with the transition from active farming life into retirement, fostering a culture of longer fixed term tenancies and protecting tenants from sham notices to quit.

More will be known once the Secretary of State publishes its policy update to accompany the new Bill which it is hoped will be made public to allow open discussion between agricultural representatives and MP’s. It should also contain more detailed information on the ELMS.

Please contact Rebecca Cleal, rcleal@prettys.co.uk if you require any further information on this update.

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