Molly has responded to the long-awaited Agriculture Bill. The government plans to phase out direct payments over seven years to 2027 and replace these with a new system of “public money for public goods”.
“Greens have led the call for direct payments to be scrapped in favour of “public money for public goods”. But it is vital that these public goods reflect the needs of the environment and serve the public in terms of improved health and wellbeing. This has to mean moving farming away from the intensive, chemical-dependent farming that has decimated our wildlife over the past 70 years.
“It is also clear that Michael Gove’s flagship policy doesn’t stand alone. Access to market has a far greater impact on the viability of farms than the subsidies they receive, which is where Brexit still poses a fundamental threat. The National Audit Office has today warned that the UKs food export industry could be at risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“Meanwhile, extreme Brexiteers within the Tory Party have their sights set on securing trade deals which will undermine the high food and animal welfare standards that both farmers and consumers are used to. Such deals could lead to a flood of cheaper and lower quality foods entering the UK, which our farmers would struggle to compete with.
“Many farmers I am talking to have changed their minds about Brexit. They are realising they are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of exiting the EU, and particularly to leaving the single market. As the realities of Brexit become ever clearer to farming communities across the country the popularity of the idea of a People’s Vote grows by the day.”