The Agriculture Bill 2018 was published on 12 September and set out the basic proposals for the agricultural industry after Brexit.
One major point that rose from the bill was confirmation that direct subsidy for farmers would be phased out by 2027.
The proposals under the Agriculture Bill set out that the current basic payment scheme (BPS) remains in its current form for 2019 and in all likelihood 2020 with very little changing either in the way of amount of payments or the way the scheme is administered.
From 2021 to 2025 there will be a gradual phasing out of direct payments based on a banding system similar in style to income tax.
Accordingly, if your BPS claim is up to £30,000, there will be a 5% reduction in your payment in 2021.
If your claim is between £30,000 and £50,000 there will be a 10% reduction. If your claim is between £50,000 and £150,000 there will be a 20% reduction, and if your claim is over £150,000 then there will be a 25% reduction.
In practical terms this means there will be little impact on farmers claiming BPS whose claims are small, but potentially will have a far greater impact on larger claimants.
The policy has not gone so far as to impose a cap above which no payments would be made which was the fear of many large landowners and therefore whilst this represents a clear line in the sand on a large claim, it has not gone so far as some may have feared.
The future of farming subsidy seems likely to go towards a more environmentally based payment; with the government favouring an approach that gives payment to farmers and landowners for providing public good. The exact form of that requirement is yet to be fully established but is likely to be either providing environmental benefit or maintaining the countryside for the benefit of the public.