Labour: CAP plans let down UK farmers

Proposals to reform the Common Agricultural Policy let down UK farmers and the natural environment, shadow food and farming minister Huw Irranca-Davies has claimed.

Responding to plans unveiled by the European Commission on Wednesday (12 October), the newly-appointed member of the shadow DEFRA team said the proposal for radical reform had turned into ‘a tired compromise’.

He said Britain’s farmers needed a policy which put them on equal terms with other EU producers if they were to remain competitive and called on government to show clear leadership in future CAP negotiations to secure this.

“The Commission’s proposals effectively scale back agri-environment schemes which support farmers to introduce more wildlife-friendly schemes,” Mr Irranca-Davies added.

“These schemes are vital to progress in halting biodiversity loss by 2020, but they also deliver great value for money and support farming incomes.  

“The reduced CAP funds up to 2020 must be more effectively targeted on the contribution of farmers to food security and the environment, recognising both innovation and environmental services in the countryside.”

Mr Irranca-Davies said current and future generations of farmers were owed a CAP reform which was fit for purpose and not based on old compromises.

“We urge the government to stand firm against the vested interests in the European Union who seek to maintain the status quo.”

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