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Many British farms not viable without EU support

Staff writer ▼ | April 21, 2016
Farming, more than any other industry in Britain, is arguably the sector most affected by membership of the EU.
British farm
Britain   All industries share the same unfettered trading access
All industries share the same unfettered trading access to the EU’s 500m consumers but only agriculture receives as large an annual pay cheque —of €3.1bn last year, equivalent to €235 a hectare in England.

This support payment from the EU’s common agricultural policy made up 55 percent of UK farmers’ income in 2014, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

“If support was removed overnight, many family farms in the UK would not be viable,” according to the National Farmers Union.

The NFU said on Monday that while it “will not be actively campaigning, it believes that “the interests of farmers are best served by our continuing membership.”

The NFU points out that the CAP costs European citizens just 23p a day. On Monday, the body representing 50,000 farmers will decide whether to abandon its neutrality. Many industry analysts believe it favours remaining in the EU.

Farmers can also tap into €5.2bn of EU funding for rural development projects over 2014-2020, much of which is allocated to measures to support the environment.