MPs challenge Defra to unite for EU negotiations
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) has blasted the EU's proposed reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and warned Defra that it must establish a united UK position.
EFRA's latest report has identified key areas for the government to promote during negotiations to CAP reform. These include enhancing the EU's self-sufficiency in food production and lessening the reliance on income support from the tax payer, as well as delivering a competitive and viable agricultural sector that produces safe and high-quality food with a lower environmental impact.
Anne McIntosh MP, EFRA committee chairmen, said: “While we broadly support the government’s desire to reduce reliance on subsidies, we do not believe that cuts to direct payments are the best way to achieve this.
"Ministers need to set out exactly how UK farmers will become self-supporting against a backdrop of rising fuel, fertiliser and feed prices and in the face of greater competition from third world countries that do not operate to EU standards of environmental protection or animal welfare."
EFRA believes that the UK should press for recognition of environmental and animal welfare standards.
"A future CAP should place greater emphasis on sustainable faming, but it should do so through a system of incentive and not through additional regulation," McIntosh said.