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Bill ensures farmers get direct payments in 2020

Aberdeen councils funds

A new bill has been introduced in Westminster to ensure farmers and crofters continue to receive subsidies for the 2020 scheme year.

Defra said the Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) (DPLC) Bill would give governments across the UK powers to administer direct payments to farmers for 2020.

“Leaving the EU means we can take back control of agricultural policy and fund our own farm payments domestically,” said a Defra spokeswoman.

“The legislation we have introduced today enables us to make direct payments to farmers for the 2020 scheme year – giving much-welcomed certainty to our farmers and food producers.”

She said the forthcoming Agriculture Bill would provide a new system of farm support once the UK leaves Europe and the Common Agricultural Policy (Cap).

She added: “The Agriculture Bill, which will shortly be returning to the Commons, will see us move towards a new system (in England) that rewards farmers for enhancing the environment and producing the food we all enjoy in a sustainable way.”

Introduction of the bill follows an announcement by Chancellor Sajid Javid, earlier this month, that producers will receive the same level of funding for direct payments this year, and for every year of the current parliament, as they did last year. The funding package for 2020, which totals £2.852 billion, will be paid across two financial years to Defra and the devolved administrations.

The Treasury said the first instalment would provide 95% of the estimated funding requirements for 2020, with the remaining 5% paid in the following financial year. The Scottish Government’s allocation for 2020-21 is £449 million, and £24m for the 2021-22 financial year.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This Bill finally solves a problem that the UK Government created and is required as a direct result of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK Government signed up to.

“The Scottish Government recognises that the Direct Payment schemes are critical to farmers and has therefore been pressing the UK Government to address this issue since July last year.

“The Scottish Government will lodge a Legislative Consent Memorandum setting out for the Scottish Parliament our views on the detail of the bill shortly.”

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