Decision time for CAP reform

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The reform of the next common agricultural policy (CAP) takes a significant step forward this week with the European Parliament finalising their version at a plenary session tomorrow.

George Lyon MEP said it was vital that reform of the CAP offered the Scottish and UK governments the necessary flexibility to tailor support programmes to suit farmers in different parts of the country. He added his political group had put down a number of amendments that would help guarantee that.

“The biggest concern by far Scottish farmers have about the reform is the level of aid they will receive once the phasing out of historic payments begins,” he said.

“Our amendments to the Commission’s plans will give the Scottish Government the power to phase them out as slowly or as fast as they think appropriate. They will also have the option to allow them to continue beyond 2020. The flexibility we are seeking would offer people across the sector the chance to invest in their businesses with confidence and help build the stronger rural economy that we all want to see.”

The other big area of concern for Lyon was the approach to linked, or coupled, payments where his group would oppose widespread re-coupling across every commodity including tobacco but said it would support livestock production in less favoured areas.

“Finally we will try and reverse the lurch back to the bad old days of widespread use of intervention and the risk of food mountains reappearing.

“These policies failed farmers last time round and they could only be funded by cuts to single farm payments.”