The “lion’s share” of farm subsidies after Brexit should go to farmers to support environmental work, Michael Gove says.
The Defra secretary reaffirmed his commitment to a “Green Brexit” during a visit to Cornwall on Sunday (10 September).
Mr Gove was speaking to reporters during a visit to Newlyn Harbour where he was joined by farm minister George Eustice and the Conservative MP for St Ives Derek Thomas.
The minister said it was made clear to farmers during the EU referendum campaign that EU subsidies would go.
He added: “It was also made clear at the general election that the Conservatives were the only party guaranteeing support for farmers in cash terms at the level it was before the election.
But Mr Gove told the Western Morning News the basis on which “farmers are allocated their subsidies at the moment is wrong”.
He said: “We absolutely intend to honour our commitment that that £3bn of money is spent ensuring that our farmers can continue to do the great job that they do.
“My view is that we should use some of that money to sustain and boost agricultural productivity.
“But the lion’s share of that money should go to farmers to help them to do the right thing environmentally.”
Mr Gove pledged to deliver a “Green Brexit” during his first major speech as Defra secretary to environmental campaigners at the WWF’s Living Planet Centre in Woking, Surrey, in July.
He warned direct farm payments would be slashed after Brexit and farmers “would have to earn” subsidies by delivering benefits for the environment and rural life.
During his visit, Mr Gove admitted his fondness for a Cornish pasty and he said he would be looking to protect the status of iconic British foods after Brexit.
The Defra boss also paid a visit to the Duchy College in Camborne where he met students studying agriculture.