VIDEO: Minister answers Twitter questions

Farm minister Jim Paice has answered questions from Farmers Weekly readers submitted via the micro-blogging website Twitter.

Mr Paice took part in the Q&A session as part of an interview examining his first year in office.

He answered questions on a range of subjects, including CAP reform, badgers and bovine tuberculosis, and the farmed environment.

Scottish sheep breeders Neale and Janet McQuistin asked Mr Paice whether he wanted to see a reduction in the CAP budget.

Mr Paice replied: “Yes we do. We do think the overall CAP budget in Europe should be reduced.”

The budget had been falling for a number of years and it was a trend the government believed should continue, he added.

Rising global demand for food over the next 50 years was the ideal background against which to think about reducing support to farmers, Mr Paice said.

“We are not calling for an end to direct payments, either now or over the next CAP reform period, but we do think the longer term projection should be a decline.

Mr and Mrs McQuistin said they were pleased Mr Paice had taken the time to answer their question.

But they added: “We hope that everyone in the EU is not working as hard as Mr Paice to run down the CAP budget.”

An interview examining Mr Paice’s first year as farm minister appears in Farmers Weekly magazine, out on Friday, 6 May.