Budget may be ‘good news’

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The CLA in the North East has expressed cautious optimism at the EU announcement of the proposed Common Agricultural policy budget for 2013-20.

The proposed budget is to be held at its current level, although with no inflationary increases for the seven-year period.

Angus Collingwood-Cameron, CLA North East director, said: “This could be very good news for farmers in the region. There was a real belief in some quarters that the budget would be cut by 20-30 per cent.

“As far back as 2006, it was clear that the CAP budget was under pressure.

“This has been exacerbated by the sovereign debt crisis that has affected much of Europe since 2008.

“Undeterred by opposition from the UK Government, the CLA has spent the last five years setting out the justification for maintaining the budget on the basis of the need for farmers to be paid for delivering public goods.

“It has been a rocky road at times, but we have continued to make the case both here in the UK and in Europe via the European Landowners Organisation.

“It would look as if this long term approach has now paid off and North East farmers should be able to look forward to the next 10 years with confidence.

“However, our work is far from over. This budget still needs to be approved. Furthermore, there are still threats to UK farmers, such as redistribution to eastern Europe and capping of payments.

“Importantly, we still need to work to ensure the efficient and equitable distribution of support payments in England.”