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Defra Must Not Ignore CAP Advice

by 5m Editor
1 June 2012, at 11:59am

UK - The Government must listen to warnings that it could put British farmers at a competitive disadvantage if exposed to higher rates of modulation than other EU farmers, NFU President Peter Kendall and CLA President Harry Cotterell said.

The two presidents were speaking following the publication of the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee’s findings of its inquiry into the European Commission proposals to green the CAP.

Mr Cotterell said: “The findings of this inquiry lay down a number of very useful markers for Defra as it negotiates on behalf of British farmers in Brussels. We agree with the Efra committee that the competitiveness of UK farmers will be significantly impacted by the Commission’s greening plans if they were to go ahead as are currently proposed. We also agree that Defra must not seek to gold plate any greening measures by applying higher conditions on farmers in this country.”

The Efra report states that “the competitiveness of UK farmers will be reduced if they are exposed to higher modulation rates than their competitors” and recommends that “Defra should not set modulation rates higher than other member states that receive similar single farm payment rates.”

“The UK is the only member state to use voluntary modulation and it is incredibly frustrating when we hear that Defra negotiators are arguing for ways to increase the amount of money that can be transferred from the direct payments envelope purely on a national basis,” said Mr Kendall.

“We hope that Defra takes heed of this finding and rather than expending negotiating capital arguing for the right to cut payments at the national level, that instead it focusses attention on securing a better allocation of rural development money from Brussels. To do otherwise certainly would not be fair to farmers.”