CAP, Brexit and government support


Will UK farming have to stand on its own feet without government support in the near future?

If you think that Brexit will change government support for agriculture, for better or for worse, you might do worse that look up Paul Mason’s article in the Guardian, “The Soviet Union collapsed overnight. Don’t assume western democracy will last forever”.  Just as in the eventual and, as the West saw it inevitable, collapse of the Soviet dream of the USSR, if globalisation turns out to have been just a temporary and reversible thing, the Western liberal, free-trade, globalised economies will either collapse or become nationalist and highly protective. The USA, Europe in general and the UK in particular need to see this coming and reform their establishments against which their electorates are already voting against. So far, the EU appears to be ignoring the need to reform itself at the top.

Why bother with this?  Well, what will happen to the Common Agricultural Policy? Teresa May appears to be pressing for free trade, in which case, government support may decline or disappear. Alternatively, or if and when that policy fails, the UK might become protectionist. What can be guaranteed is that change will be persistent for many years ahead.

Bill Butterworth, Land Research Ltd,  3 January 2017