Farminguk
18 November 2017 | Online since 2003


FarmingUK
FarmingUK Logo
6 February 2017 08:17:07 |Finance,Government,News

Post-Brexit farming powers should transition to 'rural devolution deals', Thinktank suggests


The report suggests farming policy should be better linked to local economy – for instance, locally linking agricultural policy with flood prevention could help businesses avoid damage

The report suggests farming policy should be better linked to local economy – for instance, locally linking agricultural policy with flood prevention could help businesses avoid damage

Subsidies for farming, which are currently set by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), should focus on the role of farming in unlocking growth in rural areas, a major new report says.
Think-tank IPPR North has looked at the implications of Brexit and leaving the CAP on farmers and the wider rural economy.
The report says agricultural policy plays a key supporting role in the wider local economy: although farming represents less than 1% of the economy, 70% of land is agricultural and rules on agriculture have a wider economic impact.
For instance, rules on land management can make the difference between businesses being flooded or not.
Likewise, agriculture is key to the UK’s thriving food manufacturing sector, which stands to benefit post-Brexit due to the more competitive pound boosting exports.
But the report suggests that too often rules and funding for agriculture fail to properly link it with local economies.
Rural economies vary greatly – from seaside towns dependent on tourism, through to farming villages - that a more devolved approach is best, the report finds.
Rural devolution deals
IPPR North recommends these powers ‘leapfrog’ from the EU to devolved areas, with new rural devolution deals which would link national agricultural policy to local economic issues – such as communities, flooding and local labour markets in particular, especially as the EU seasonal workers policy looks to come to an end.
Such 'rural devo deals' would refocus farming rules where they are most needed.
To boost the economy, the report recommends the priority for limited subsidies should be focused on meeting the UK’s domestic food needs in a sustainable way; key environmental protection on issues like flood management and boosting food exports, following an audit of likely demand for British produce post-Brexit.
'No single rural economy'
Anna Round, senior research fellow at IPPR North, said there is 'no single' rural economy.
She said: “The economy in rural areas is by its nature hugely diverse and covers much more than the “tractor and tourism” stereotype but also hotspots of high-tech businesses such as advanced manufacturing, agri-tech and digital innovation.
“This means a devolved, targeted approach is needed to really get the rural economy firing on all cylinders post-Brexit.
“At a national level, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get a farming policy that really works for the UK.
“This will mean we must be as strategic as possible in how every penny is spent, prioritising environmental protections to prevent flooding, linking agriculture to scientific innovation, and boosting food production for both the UK and for exporting.”





Download

Trending Now