Rishi Sunak announces next steps for farming at NFU Conference  

The prime minister attended this year’s NFU Conference to announce a series of new measures to support farmers, including plans to increase certain payments and cut planning permission red tape.

Rishi Sunak in front of a dark screen

Rishi Sunak made an appearance at this year’s NFU Conference, where he announced a series of new measures intended to support farmers. 

During his speech he recognised the value of British farmers in putting food on our tables and caring for the countryside, amid a plethora of challenges. 

He pledged never to take food security for granted and to be “by your side” as farmers face the biggest change in a generation with the ongoing transition away from basic payments. 

The PM also pledged to continue to support meat consumption, never to make it mandatory for farmers to put a percentage of their land into environmental schemes, and to ensure the full £2.4 billion annual farming budget reaches farmers. 

SEE ALSO : Dover farmers host protest at supermarket in row over cheap imports 

New measures announced

  • Management payments will be doubled to £2,000 
  • There will be the biggest package of grants so far this year, expected to total £427m 
  • Around £220 million will be injected into the future-focused technology and productivity schemes, and it will also fund cost-saving energy measures, such as rooftop solar 
  • Legislation coming in April will cut red tape around permitted development rights so farmers can easily develop buildings and diversify earnings through farm shops, commercial space and sporting venues 
  • Greater funding for mental health support 
  • Monitoring under the annual Food Security Index will be stepped up – this will become mandatory when parliamentary time allows. The first draft will be published in spring 
  • The Farm to Form Summit will now be annual 
  • £15m is being allocated to redirect surplus food to those who need it 
  • New regulations for the dairy sector will come in tomorrow to ensure reasonable and transparent contracts – the pig and egg sectors are to follow suit later 
  • There will also be a supply chain fairness review for the poultry sector. 

‘We’ll never take our food security for granted’

Mr Sunak said: “While the importance of farmers will never change – farming is going through its biggest change in a generation. And as farmers do so, this government will be by their side. They have been dealing with soaring global prices in things like fuel and fertiliser. So, we’ve been working hard to get inflation down – from 11.1% last year to 4% now. And we’re increasing payments in our farming schemes by an average of 10%. 

“They are also at the forefront of innovation – from gene editing to boost resilience to disease, to automation to help harvest crops. And while thanks to you we enjoy good quality food all year-round, global events – including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – have put food security back at the top of the agenda. We’ll never take our food security for granted. We’ve got a plan to support British farming – and we’re going further again today. 

He added: “I know how important my neighbours – our farmers – truly are. You help to employ millions, add billions to our economy, shape the landscape, but most of all, you produce the food we need – food that is some of the best and highest quality anywhere in the world.” 

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