On 1 March 2022, the government laid The Direct Payments to Farmers (Allocation of Payment Entitlements from the National Reserve) (England) Regulations 2022 in Parliament. This makes a minor change to the Basic Payment Scheme rules for new and young farmers in England.
When the Basic Payment Scheme was introduced, some of the English Scheme funds were used to create a national reserve in England. This instrument makes a change to the way Scheme entitlements are given to new and young farmers from the national reserve. As Direct Payments in England are being phased out during the agricultural transition period, Scheme payment entitlements will no longer be given to new and young farmers in relation to land they bought or leased after 17 May 2021. This was the deadline for applying for payment entitlements from the national reserve for the 2021 Basic Payment Scheme claim year. New and young farmers will still be able to buy or lease Scheme entitlements on the open market.
This change also means there will be no double funding in relation to land used to claim a lump sum payment under the Lump Sum Exit Scheme and land used to give Scheme payment entitlements to new and young farmers. A statutory instrument allowing us to introduce the Lump Sum Exit Scheme this year was laid in parliament on 10 February 2022.
We set out our intention to make this change to the Scheme rules in May 2021.This was done alongside our consultation on the Lump Sum Exit Scheme.
New Entrant Support
We also recognise the importance of providing additional support to new entrants alongside the changes to Direct Payments. As set out in our Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 – 2024, we will provide funding to create lasting opportunities for new entrants to access land, infrastructure, and support to establish successful and innovative businesses. Over the last year we have been codesigning the new entrant scheme with a steering group as well as a wider user and stakeholder group including new and recent entrants, landowners, and county farms and those already providing support to new entrants. In January 2022 the Secretary of State announced the development of incubator pilots for new entrants to learn more about what works in terms of meeting their needs. We aim to announce more detail in early spring this year.
Other Schemes Available
Farmers, including new and young farmers, will also have access to schemes which will pay for sustainable farming practices, improving animal health and welfare, reducing carbon emissions, creating, and preserving habitat, and making landscape-scale environmental changes. Farmers will have access to financial assistance to invest in the equipment, technology, and infrastructure that they need to improve their productivity, manage the environment sustainably, and deliver other public goods.
VICTORIA PRENTIS MP