Bishop of Exeter asks about support for agriculture following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 5th April 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) inflationary, and (2) supply chain, pressures on British farming exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and what consideration they have given to pausing the phasing out of direct payments to farmers for two years to enable them to adjust to these changes in the market.

Lord Benyon (Con): Agricultural commodity prices are strongly correlated to global gas prices. Farmers have seen an increase in their input costs, particularly fertiliser, feed and diesel. Through the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group, we are working to analyse market impacts and current trends. We have already announced steps to support farmers to move to alternatives to inorganic fertilisers, and the Farming Minister chaired a roundtable with industry last week. Our food import dependency on the Eastern Europe region is very low, so we do not expect any significant direct impact on UK food supply.

Abandoning the phase out of the area based subsidy would not be the right thing to do. Those that would suffer would be the sectors already having a difficult time, including the pig and poultry sectors, which have never been heavily subsidised through the area-based payments. In 2017, £1.775bn of payments were made across 85,000 farms and 10% of claimants received half of this total. 33% of farms received less than £5,000 each.

Hansard

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