Frank Smith & Co Solicitors is a specialist law firm operating in the centre of Cheltenham. We have first-hand knowledge in advising landowning and farming families.
The Agricultural Bill was published in September 2018 and is expected to become law this spring. It is an integral part of the Government’s future planning for farming following Brexit. At the time of writing this article, the decisions on Brexit have not yet been solidified, nevertheless, the Bill has provided guidelines during this transitional period. One of the biggest changes is the decision to phase out Basic Payments. Basic Payments are subsidised payments made to qualifying farmers under the current EU Common Agriculture Policy.
Basic Payments will be phased out completely between 2021 – 2027. This will mean that farmers and landowners who currently receive Basic Payments will continue to do so for 2019 and 2020. Simplifications will be made to make applying during these years easier and to improve overall value for money. However, from 2021 payment reductions shall begin.
In 2021 the reduction in Basic Payment will vary from 5% to 25% depending on where you lie within 4 different payment bands, with the highest payment band being reduced the fastest. It is not clear how these reductions will be made in later years before the payments are phased out completely. During the transitional period between 2021 – 2027, it is noted that the Government will remove the requirement to farm the land. Therefore, several years’ worth of payments may be paid in one lump sum which could provide farmers with opportunities to invest in their business, diversify, or even retire.
For further information on agricultural law, please contact Frank Smith on 01242 801748 or visit us at https://www.franksmithandco.com/ .