Supporting British farmers

Dear John,

Sticking to our plan to back British farmers

I am writing to update you on the next steps to deliver the Government’s plan for farmers, which the Prime Minister has announced today at the NFU Conference.

We committed to spend £2.4 billion in the farming sector on average every year of this Parliament and we will deliver. In your constituency alone, we have invested £1484212.75 in farming since 1 April 2023.

We are moving away from the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, which saw 50% of the budget reach the largest 10% of landowners. The Government’s new schemes are investing in the foundations of food security, environmental sustainability and profitable farm businesses. In January this year, we announced the biggest update to farming schemes since the start of the agricultural transition, which included an average 10% increase to payment rates, and up to 50 new actions. This ensures we have something for every type of farmer in England to choose what works best for their business – from uplands to lowlands and beyond. Unique within the UK, we have a policy that puts farmers in control. Choosing how to engage with our schemes in a way that works best for their farm.

Building on the update to our schemes announced in January, we have today announced further steps to back our farmers. Firstly, we will be taking further action to invest in sustainable, resilient farm businesses. In September 2023 we introduced the Management Payment to cover the administrative costs of entering our schemes. This has helped an increased number of small farmers to sign up. We will be doubling that payment to up to £2,000 in the first year of agreements entered into by March 2025 and extending it to Countryside Stewardship mid-tier. This means that the 11,000 farmers in England already in Sustainable Farming Incentive will receive that top up this Spring.

We are also launching the largest ever grant offer totalling £427 million. This invests £220 million in productivity and innovation in farming, £116 milli in slurry infrastructure, and £91 million in improving the health and welfare of our farmed animals. The first of these schemes is an enhanced £70 million round of the successful Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and we will also be increasing the currently open Improving Farming Productivity Fund from £30 million to £50 million – which covers robotics, automation and rooftop solar to build on-farm energy security.

Next, we will improve the service and support being offered to farmers and cut planning red tape which currently stands in the way of farm diversification. We will lay the legislation to deliver those permitted development rights in April so that more farms in England can introduce farm shops or outside sports venues. We will continue to improve Government services with better digital infrastructure, that is easier and faster to use. We will introduce more rolling application windows and make payments on time. Further, in recent years there has been a growing awareness of the importance of farming mental health and we will be making up to £500,000 available to three charity partners to deliver projects that support mental health in the farming sector.

Third, we are also strengthening our food security, which is a vital part of our national security. We remain committed to our target to maintain food production at least at current levels – which is around 60% of what we consume. However, in recent years global shocks from the illegal invasion of Ukraine and extreme weather have made clear that we must step up our monitoring. We will therefore introduce a yearly Food Security Index to underpin the Government’s three-yearly food security report. This will be made statutory when Parliamentary time allows. The index will present the key data and analysis needed to monitor how we are maintaining our current levels of self-sufficiency and overall food security. We expect this to be UK-wide and will work to achieve this, strengthening accountability across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We will publish the first draft during the second UK Farm to Fork Summit this Spring, which will be an annual event.

We are also supporting farmers to utilise more of their produce. We will be launching a £15 million fund available directly to farmers or the redistribution sector working with farmers, to redistribute surplus food at the farm gate which cannot currently be used commercially. We are also committed to building fairness in the supply chain. We will be laying the regulations for the dairy sector this week, and have today confirmed that the next review will be in the poultry sector.

Supporting farmers, improving our approach, and strengthening food security – this is our plan. We are sticking to it, to deliver a resilient and profitable farming sector which continues to produce some of the best food in the world.

Yours sincerely,




  1. Stephen Phillips
    February 20, 2024

    “invested £ big number”

    Is there any difference in political meaning between “investing” and” spending” these days?

    It is a mystery to me why farmers should be subsidised at all but it is clearly spending not investment.

    1. Bloke
      February 20, 2024

      Banks use a similar distortion of terms. If you borrow from them, they call it a loan. When they offer interest to borrow from you, they call it an investment. However, they’re just borrowing from you to loan it to someone else at higher expense.

  2. Jude
    February 20, 2024

    All this sounds great from Steve Barclay, but if this is being rolled out in Wales! Seems Farmers are not that keen. Smoke & mirrors to eventually put farmers out of business. Expecting them to rewild up to 2O% of their land. Plus hit them with rules & regs that will put them out of business. More daft wokery …when will common sense prevail & make GB great again?

  3. Bloke
    February 20, 2024

    That EU CAP system never should have been entered in the first place. It was crazy for us, and mainly favoured the French against others, known well before we entered the Common Market. Finally doing something for British farmers is welcome now yet rather late starting.
    Car boot sales are extremely popular and farmers could also gain from accommodating those where they may suit their land. They are also effective ways of recycling. Government seems to have no initiative in helping organise or stimulate such sales to increase efficiency.

  4. Stoneman1960
    February 20, 2024

    I watched the youtube channel Harrys Farm this morning
    He is de risking his operation , his words by taking newly offered subsidies not to grow anything
    In other words , enhanced stubble, fallow lapwing habitats, re wilding , green projects using money presumeably from taxpayers
    He was baffled by the fact nowhere in the subsidy list was an incentive to actually produce crop for the market
    his output this year will be half of what it was in 23 and I assume most farmers will follow this , why bother risking a failed harvest when you can cash cheques for doing nothing , it seems to be setting us up for food shortages
    How is this security

    1. Rhoddas
      February 20, 2024

      I am confused as to what to believe now, I am sure Harry’s Farm does indicate how farmers are maximising their income, so how can Barclay produce a diametrically opposed view?

      Really welcome other farmers to provide feedback, thank you!

  5. Ralph Corderoy
    February 21, 2024

    He is more ‘money’ handed out by Government, this time £¾M from Defra:

    ‘[The Dorset Peat Programme] also includes one private landowner who has been funded by £787,320 from Defra’s Nature for Climate Peatland Grant Scheme (NCPGS), and £262,500 from other partners.’ — Dorset Echo, ‘England’s first super nature reserve set for Dorset’, February ’24.

    The ‘other partners’ include ‘Natural England, Forestry England, the Environment Agency’ so probably the other £¼M is proxy Government hand-outs too.

    When will we have a Government which refuses to create more debt on nice-to-have projects, for that’s what this ‘money’ is, while it runs a deficit year after year? I think only once the money fails, as all fiat money eventually does.

  6. Berkshire Alan
    February 21, 2024

    Comment to me, from someone who’s livelihood is to get Farmers the best deals and support from the current system, with regards to what best to grow in the soil they have, market knowledge, and how to maximise productivity.
    “Too little, too late to make any difference now, they will be voted out “!.

    Another Brexit opportunity wasted, that has taken years to even part design a system suitable for our UK farmers.
    All those wasted years and idea’s John !

  7. Linda Brown
    February 21, 2024

    All good stuff but not enough money going in. I know everyone needs more money but I think farmers and defence should be priorities. Welfare needs cutting to make way for these two essential services to gain more. People need to look after themselves more and not be so dependent on benefits. For example, I never hear people mention the child allowance now which is quite good I think. They get so many other benefits and free child care that the child allowance has been forgotten. We only produce 60% of our food, I think, and this needs righting. We lost our orchards after EU interference and the shops are full of EU inferior fruit, my opinion. There is nothing like an English apple but you have to really look for them at farm shops and where the few that are grown are. This needs to change. I remember visiting the Vale of Evesham every year for plums and shopping at Tenbury Market where my Mom bought boxes of local grown food at auction with my aunt. The latest generations and immigrants need to be educated in our history of what this country was like as they don’t seem to know anything existed before they came on the scene.

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