Getting rid of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy would mean a tremendous opportunity for farmers and championing good practices in the industry, writes Neil Hamilton
The vote to leave the European Union in 2016 was a golden opportunity for the UK to take control of its agricultural policy and management of the countryside. About time!
Finally, we can be free of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Leaving the EU enables us to design policy that is ‘tailor-made’ for the UK.
Three and a half years of confusion and delay from Westminster has achieved nothing but uncertainty for farmers and others whose livelihoods depend on the UK’s internationally acclaimed agricultural industry.
British farmers are the custodians of the countryside. On the EU’s watch, vast subsidies have been paid to wealthy landowners rather than supporting the essential contribution of family owned and tenant farmers. UKIP believes that all subsidies should be capped at £120,000 per year and will ensure farm payments reach those who actually farm the land by way of a UK Single Farm Payment (SFP).
UKIP will continue to champion good practices in the agricultural sector. A clean break form the EU means the UK can take control of animal health and welfare. UKIP will ban the live exports of animals, halt non-stun slaughter in UK slaughterhouses and insist on the accurate labelling of all food products – clearly identifying the country of origin and methods of rearing and slaughter.
Consecutive Conservative and Labour Governments have systematically failed to promote British farmers and educate consumers to buy British. UKIP would introduce a targeted campaign to educate consumers on the benefits of buying locally sourced produce.
Post Brexit, there is a bright future for British agriculture with unprecedented opportunities to export to expanding global markets. Free form the shackles of the CAP, the UK Government will be able legislate specifically to the needs of British farmers. The EU’s one size fits all approach has held British farmers back for decades.
UKIP’s forward-looking vision will reinvigorate our rural economy and put British produce back on the map not just in Europe, but around the world.
Neil Hamilton is UKIP's Agriculture spokesman