Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Europe

UK farmers call for basic income to be guaranteed

By Jonathan Powell in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-05 02:45
Share - WeChat
This file photo taken on March 25 shows farmers driving their tractors past the Houses of Parliament during a protest in London, UK. [Photo/CFP]

Farmers are urging the UK government to provide them with a universal basic income, citing the shortcomings of current agriculture subsidy initiatives that they say have exacerbated financial difficulties for many.

Slow implementation of sustainable farming initiatives, established after Brexit in 2020 to replace the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, or CAP, have resulted in economic struggles for many farmers, say trade associations.

According to independent analysis and government projections, the UK's new payment programs are unlikely to make up for the shortfall caused by the absence of EU subsidies for most farmers, reported The Guardian newspaper.

More than 100 farmers in the UK have joined a new lobby group called Basic Income for Farmers, or BI4Farmers. A report from the group says such basic support is needed across the UK, as farmers had previously been "basically kept afloat" by EU subsidies and now face the risk of going out of business.

It suggests that funding for the payments could come from government, but also from those in the food supply chain that are "comfortably profitable", such as supermarkets and landlords, reported the Farmers Weekly news website.

The report notes that, in 2019, the UK received about 4.7 billion pounds ($5.9 billion) in funding from the EU, and that without these subsidies, between 19 percent and 42 percent of farms would have been unable to break even.

Quoted by Farmers Weekly, report author and BI4Farmers coordinator Jo Poulton said: "Financial insecurity impacts the mental and physical wellbeing of those who produce our food while weakening the overall strength of the local food system. Finding ways to support these livelihoods will be critical to building the resilient, sustainable, and just local food systems we need."

Analysis by the organic farming group Riverford, cited by The Guardian, has found that half of surveyed farmers said they may go out of business due to uncertainty over farming payment schemes, rising costs, and trade deals made since Brexit.

The UK government has defended its support payment programs, claiming it is "inaccurate" to suggest farmers are now receiving less than they did when the UK was in the EU.

It stated it is fully committed to maintain spending at an average of 2.4 billion pounds per year on the farming budget. "This significant amount of money is being invested through our package of support schemes and grants, which are designed to work for all farm types and sizes, replacing the bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, which saw 50 percent of funding go to the largest 10 percent of landowners," said a spokesperson.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349