Britain to continue farm subsidies beyond Brexit | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 04.01.2018
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Britain to continue farm subsidies beyond Brexit

The UK will continue to subsidize its farmers for "a number of years" after the country's withdrawal from the EU. The terms will remain in place until the introduction of a new system based on environmental protection.

British farmers will receive subsidies for several years after the country leaves the European Union, Britain's environment secretary announced on Thursday.

Read more: 2018: The year of Brexit decisions

Farmers in the UK currently receive a share of around €3.37 billion ($4.06 billion) every year from the bloc's Common Agricultural policy (CAP), and this will continue beyond the two-year transitional period that Britain is hoping to implement after its withdrawal in March 2019, possibly until 2024.

 "That guaranteed income should provide time for farmers to change their business model if necessary, help to make the investment necessary for any adjustments and prepare for the future," Britain's Environment Secretary Michael Gove told a farming conference in Oxford.

Wildflower meadows

Gove suggested that the current system could be replaced with a tax break for farmers who return their land into wildflower meadows, with Gove warning that the current system failed to reward efficiency.

Gove is promising a new system to landowners "planting woodland, providing new habitats for wildlife, increasing biodiversity, contributing to improved water quality and returning cultivated land to wildflower meadows or other more natural states."

However, critics have suggested the proposal is an admission that small UK farming businesses will go bust after the subsidies stop.

mds/hg (AFP, Reuters)