Monday, 21 May 2018

You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone

The European Parliament think tank has been issuing, in advance of next year's EP elections, a series of articles about the benefits to the ordinary voter of EU membership. A recent one caught my eye, bearing as it does on small farmers in Wales, a significant sector of the economy. A pdf explains Direct Payments to Farmers.

More than three quarters of farm holdings in the EU are small - below 10 ha - with the very large majority of those below 5 ha. In order to address the specific situation of these farms, member states can apply the small farmers scheme (SFS), a simplified direct payment scheme granting a one-off payment to farmers who choose to participate. The maximum level of the payment is decided at the national level, but in any case may not exceed €1,250. The small farmers scheme includes simplified administrative procedures, and participating farmers are exempt from greening and cross-compliance sanctions and controls. The scheme is applied in 15 EU countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Slovenia.

Note that the UK has chosen not to participate. It is quite happy to take the basic payments for greening, payments which are said to favour such people as the Duke of Westminster and Paul Dacre, Brexiteer editor of the Daily Mail, disproportionately. £1,000 may not be  a lot, but cutting administrative procedures was one of the reasons cited by Welsh farmers who voted Leave in 2016.

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