Agricultural Bill will lead to a 'shake-up'

By Wilkin Chapman LLP | Posted: 11 Oct 2018

A legal expert in the region’s rural affairs is predicting how the UK’s proposed new Agricultural Bill will lead to a ‘shake-up’ of the industry.

Ahead of the Bill’s Second Reading, scheduled in the House of Commons later today, Wilkin Chapman Partner and agricultural team member James Lloyd believes the Bill’s contents needs much scrutiny and consideration by all concerned in the months ahead.

And while it is designed to ensure ‘stability’ for farmers on Britain’s exit from the EU, James says:

“This is the first substantial Brexit Bill in a domestic policy area which covers both devolved and reserved matters.

“It introduces new measures to change the way in which farmers and land managers are supported in the longer term and in my view this is going to lead to a shake-up in the industry as we move to a market-led position, where Government payments for public goods are part of the diversified income of a farm.”

He added how those working within the sector would be advised to look at the consequences of these changes sooner rather than later.

“It would certainly be worth people starting to think about how their businesses and relationships with other businesses may be able to adjust,” he said.

As reported, the Bill is set to come into force after Brexit and its contents set out actions and measures to replace the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), which currently sees UK farmers receiving £3bn-a-year as part of a direct payment structure.

One of its main contents is a planned ‘transition’ period away from the current system, with a gradual reduction that will last until 2027, when the last payments will be made based on the amount of land farmed. It will be replaced by a system that is designed to ‘reflect the Government’s aim of securing a better future for UK agriculture and for the environment’.

The UK has been a part of the CAP since 1973 and the UK Government and stakeholders have described the Bill as a ‘historic opportunity to radically reshape domestic agricultural policy’.

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