The Government has today (19 May) published a consultation on changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to support farmers through the agricultural transition period from now until 2027 which will deliver a better, fairer farming system in England.
The consultation will be open for 12 weeks and focuses on two key areas:
-Lump sum exit scheme – Building on evidence that some farmers would like to retire or leave the industry but have found it difficult to do so for financial reasons, the Government proposes to offer them a lump sum payment to help them do this in a planned and managed way. The consultation seeks views on who should be eligible for these lump sum payments and how the payments should be calculated.
-Delinked payments - Direct Payments currently made through the Basic Payments Scheme offer poor value for money and are based on how much land a farmer has, which inflates rent and can stand in the way of new entrants. The Government plans to phase Direct Payments out over a gradual seven year transition period, to move to a fairer system. The consultation includes plans to separate the payment from the amount of land farmed, from 2024. This will simplify the process for farmers, allow them to focus on running their business and encourage them to take up the government's new environmental land management schemes, which will reward sustainable food production and environmental improvements. The consultation seeks views on how the 'delinked' payments will be calculated.
A vibrant farming industry also needs to attract new talent and create more opportunities for new entrants and farmers wishing to expand their businesses. The Government is working together with industry leaders, local councils, land owners and new entrants to co-design a scheme to create real opportunities for new farming businesses. The new scheme will be available to support new entrants from 2022. Recommendations for the design of the scheme will be shared later in the year.