THE Government has launched a consultation on changes to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) to support farmers through the Agriculture Transition Period in order to deliver a better and fairer farming system in England, in line with the interests of the farming community.

The Agricultural Transition Period began on January, 1 2021 and will last for seven years. Its purpose is to gradually phase out Direct Payments, such as BPS, and introduce a new system based on the principle of public money for public goods.

Currently, the average farmer receives around £20,000 in grants under the old EU system which is based largely on the amount of land they farm. But while farmers are set to benefit from the overhaul through incentives that will also benefit the environment, government support is crucial for many to stay profitable.

The latest consultation is set to support those struggling to enter and exit the farming industry. The consultation will last for a period of 12 weeks and will be split into two parts: Lump Sum Exit Scheme - the Government is proposing to offer those that want to leave the industry a lump sum payment, enabling them to exit in a planned manner.

Commenting on the consultation, Charles Raine, director at youngsRPS, said: “The Lump Sum Exit Scheme is great news for some farmers, such as small scale owner occupiers who are reaching the end of their farming career without successors who can retain the ownership of their land but rent it out; tenant farmers who have already begun or could easily begin discussions with their landlords about tenancy surrender coupled with a compensation package from their landlord; and tenant farmers with succession tenancies with eligible and suitable successors waiting to take over.

“It is worth noting that there may be both Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax considerations specific to an individual’s circumstances that will need careful consideration and assistance from rural professionals.

“It is important to remember that this is an opportunity for the farming community to have their say on how they think the future of farming should look; I urge anyone that receives BPS payments to complete the online consultation form.”

DEFRA also plan to ‘delink’ Direct Payments from land for all farmers in 2024, meaning that they will no longer have to farm the land to receive the payments. The consultation seeks views on how the ‘delinked’ payments will be calculated.

Consultation form: