Direct payment cuts must be shared - NFU

Cuts to 2013 direct payments must be shared equally across all farmers in the European Union, the NFU has told MEPs before a crucial vote in the European Parliament this week.

Brussels EU parliament buildingBecause the EU budget forecast for 2013 direct payments is higher than available funds, the European Commission has triggered its “financial discipline mechanism” which means all farmers face an estimated 4.98% cut to their 2013 direct payment. However the commission has also proposed to apply these cuts only to payment amounts above €5,000, a move the NFU said was unfair.

Senior CAP adviser Gail Soutar said: “Limiting the cuts to amounts over €5,000 would exempt approximately 80% of EU farmers from contributing, leaving the remaining 20% to shoulder the full burden.

“The NFU has worked closely with UK MEPs who have tabled an amendment to scrap the €5,000 exemption which would save UK agriculture approximately €20 million. That amendment will be voted on this Wednesday and we urge all MEPs to support it.”

The Council of Ministers must also agree to any changes to the commission's proposals before they are passed into legislation.

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