UK Prime Minister Pledges £430m Boost for Farming Sector

21/02/2024

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Historic Grant Offer to Transform Agriculture

At the NFU Conference in Birmingham, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made a landmark announcement, setting out a near £430 million grant support to revolutionize the UK farming industry. This substantial package is aimed at enhancing productivity and incorporating cutting-edge technology into agricultural practices.

Sunak’s Promise to Farmers: “I’ve Got Your Back”

Addressing an audience at the NFU Conference for the first time since 2008, the Prime Minister delivered a message of solidarity to the farming community, assuring them of the government’s commitment to the sector’s prosperity and resilience.

Driving Innovation with £220m Investment

The government’s grant offer, which is the largest to date, includes a significant £220 million earmarked for future-focused schemes. These funds are intended to facilitate investments in automation and energy-efficient measures such as rooftop solar, ensuring that land remains available for food production.

Government Responds to Soaring Global Prices

Prime Minister Sunak acknowledged the challenges faced by farmers due to the rising costs of essentials like fuel and fertiliser. He highlighted the government’s efforts in reducing inflation and stressed the critical role of farmers in ensuring the nation’s food security, especially in light of global events such as the conflict in Ukraine.

Enhanced Support for Sustainable Farming

The Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) will see a doubling of the Management Payment, providing a financial boost of up to an extra £1,000 this April for those with existing agreements. This incentive will also be extended to new Countryside Stewardship mid-tier agreements starting by March 2025.

Introducing the UK-wide Food Security Index

In a move lauded by NFU President Minette Batters as ‘significant’, the Prime Minister announced the creation of a new Food Security Index to closely monitor the nation’s food security levels. Alongside this, a £15m fund will be established to address food waste directly from the farm gate.

Regulatory Reforms to Empower Farmers

Mr. Sunak expressed his desire to change the culture within the farming sector by reducing bureaucratic hurdles. He announced upcoming regulations aimed at ensuring fair and transparent contracts in the dairy sector, with similar measures for the pig and egg sectors on the horizon. Additionally, a supply chain fairness review for the poultry sector is in the pipeline, with considerations for the sheep and beef sectors to follow suit.

The Prime Minister’s comprehensive support package and regulatory commitments signal a robust plan to bolster British farming, ensuring it remains at the heart of the nation’s food security and economic growth.

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