Dairy UK attacks plans for subsidy elimination

Milk industry body, Dairy UK, has belittled the UK government’s 2005 Vision report, suggesting it will lead to a further decline in food production and more distortions against England’s farmers.

The comments were contained in Dairy UK’s submission to the government’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee, which is studying the impact of further CAP reform as demanded by the Vision report.

In it, DEFRA secretary Margaret Becket and chancellor of the exchequer Gordon Brown call for the elimination of all direct farm supports within 10-15 years, with any aid to farming paid as rural development support.

“This vision demonstrates that the government is not committed to UK food production and its implementation could undermine UK food security,” says Dairy UK.

Despite the industry’s natural advantages in terms of climate and expertise, there is no way the UK could compete with cheap imports from Eastern Europe and South America in the free market scenario the UK government is advocating.

Dairy UK also warns of further distortions as more resources are shifted to Pillar 2 supports.

“CAP reform has already introduced a number of routes by which distortions can be created,” it says.

In particular it points to the use of voluntary national modulation and the fact the UK spends most of its rural development money on environmental schemes, whereas others may use it for improving efficiency.