NFU Convention: PM unveils new farm assist value almost £430m

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The prime minister has introduced a package deal of grant assist value almost £430m to assist farmers with productiveness and know-how.

Rishi Sunak unveiled the assist at as we speak’s (20 February) NFU Convention, the place he advised delegates at Birmingham’s ICC “I’ve obtained your again”.

He introduced that the federal government will open the most important ever grant supply for farmers within the coming monetary yr, anticipated to complete £427m, together with funding for know-how and productiveness schemes.

Round £220m might be injected into the future-focused know-how and productiveness schemes to make sure farmers can spend money on automation.

It’ll additionally fund power measures, comparable to rooftop photo voltaic, to safeguard land for meals manufacturing, the prime minister confirmed.

The funding doubles funding in productiveness schemes, rising the grant supply from £91m final yr to £220m subsequent yr to maintain up with demand.

Within the speech, which is the primary time since 2008 {that a} prime minister has addressed the NFU convention, Mr Sunak mentioned: “Whereas the significance of farmers won’t ever change – farming goes by means of its largest change in a era.

“They’ve been coping with hovering international costs in issues like gas and fertiliser. We’ve been working arduous to get inflation down – from 11.1% final yr to 4% now.

“And whereas due to you we get pleasure from good high quality meals all year-round international occasions – together with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have put meals safety again on the high of the agenda.

“We’ll by no means take our meals safety with no consideration. We’ve obtained a plan to assist British farming – and we’re going additional once more as we speak.”

Mr Sunak confirmed that the federal government will double the Administration Cost for the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) so these with current agreements will obtain as much as an additional £1,000 this April.

It will likely be prolonged to Countryside Stewardship mid-tier for the primary yr of agreements beginning by March 2025, that means that the 11,000 farmers who’ve utilized for SFI will obtain that high up this spring.

The prime minister additionally introduced a brand new annual UK-wide Meals Safety Index to seize and current the info wanted to watch ranges of meals safety, and a £15m fund to assist sort out meals waste from the farm gate.

It follows business campaigning on the significance of meals safety with greater than 45,000 members of the general public calling on the federal government to take motion.

NFU President Minette Batters mentioned the Meals Safety Index was a ‘vital’ transfer. “After we left the EU we had been advised the Agriculture Invoice can be five-yearly reporting,” she mentioned.

“It was an actual battle to get it to each three years. The advantage of annual reporting specializing in the UK is it means we might be measuring extra typically, permitting us to watch the scenario, and might see if we now have an issue and do one thing about it.

“I hope all events decide to internet hosting a home meals safety summit every year. Annual assessments might be vital to all of this.”

Throughout his speech, Mr Sunak additionally mentioned he wished to vary the tradition by chopping purple tape round permitted growth rights so farmers can develop buildings and diversify their companies.

He introduced new rules set to be laid in parliament for the dairy sector, making certain they’ve cheap and clear contracts.

Related rules for the pig sector will come later this yr, with the egg sector anticipated to observe.

A brand new provide chain equity evaluation of the poultry sector can also be set to be launched, Mr Sunak mentioned, and Defra is predicted to seek the advice of stakeholders on whether or not the sheep and beef sectors ought to observe.


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