For too long, a bureaucratic and centrally imposed system of rules and regulations, which tries and fails to meet the needs of 28 different member states, has held our farmers back. Now, as we leave the European Union and take back control of our agri-food and farming sectors, we have the opportunity to design a British successor to the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy that work for our farmers and our fishermen, rather than for those in the EU27.
Red tape and farm inspections imposed by EU regulations hinder our fantastic UK famers, with vast amounts of paperwork stopping them from growing and exporting great British food effectively. Dealing with this European bureaucracy is estimated to cost the industry some £5 million per year and the loss of 300,000 man hours. By cutting the red tape that comes out of Brussels, we will free our farmers to grow more, sell more and export more great British food whilst upholding our high standards for plant and animal health and welfare.
Following the UK’s departure from the EU, we will be free to ditch the ‘three crop rule’ which sets out how many different crops farmers must plant each year, enabling 40,000 farmers to grow the foods people want – adding millions of pounds to the economy. We would be able to reduce the number of government inspections on farms, by streamlining them or replacing them by better use of aerial photography. We have already cut 4,000 inspections in 2017 and aim to remove 20,000 by 2020.
And we would scrap the much-hated rules requiring farmers and rural businesses to pay for and display billboards – up to 6ft x 4ft in size – to publicise the EU contribution for grants to grow their businesses; money that came from British taxpayers in the first place!
My priority is to deliver common sense British rules that work for British farmers and British businesses.