DIRECT payments to farmers will be reduced by up to a quarter next year, the government has confirmed.

The payments are currently made to farmers based on the amount of land they maintain. Higher reductions will be applied to higher payment bands, which would mean farmers who are paid £150,000 or more will see their payments reduced by 25 per cent.

The payments will decrease further over time until the final payments are made for the 2027 scheme year.

A Defra report published stated that there was a clear desire among farmers to move away from the ‘failings’ of the Common Agricultural Policy quickly.

But the news has been met with concern among some Tynedale farmers.

Jamie Murray, who farms at Sewingshields, said: “I think at the moment, people are probably quite worried about it. It’s going to be quite a struggle to make a living in the hills without the basic payments.

“From our point of view, as selling breeding stock, if people haven’t got the money in the bank to buy stock we’re going to be hit from both sides.”

Some of the money will be used to start the national pilot of the government’s future Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELM) which will see farmers paid for work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife.

But Mr Murray added that the prospect of ELM payments was of little comfort.

He said: “Nobody knows the payment rates for ELM.

"Nobody has a clue what’s going on.”