Defra's lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments consultation: What you need to know

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NFU experts have looked closer at Defra's consultation on lump sum exit and delinked payments and put together guidance to help you respond.

Six things you need to know about the consultation

Here are the top things you need to know about the consultation that will shape government payments from 2022.

1. Defra hopes to support farmers who want to leave the industry and make it easier for new entrants to join

Defra sees current direct payments as holding back structural change and inflating farm rent prices. It believes that by making it more financially viable for farmers to exit the industry, it will help increase opportunities for those who wish to enter into or expand their farming activity.

2. Direct payments will change from 2022 – this consultation will help shape the next step for farmers

As part of the transition to a new agriculture policy in England, the government wants to:

  • in 2022, offer farmers who wish to exit the industry the option of taking a lump sum payment in place of any further direct payments
  • in 2024, ‘delink’ direct payments from the land for all farmers. This means that recipients will no longer have to farm the land to receive payments.

3. Defra is calling for views on questions that will determine eligibility

Defra wants to seek industry views on the following: 

  • The proposed lump sum exit scheme – it is seeking views on its questions about eligibility criteria and how it should calculate the value of the lump sum.
  • The reference period to be used to determine eligibility for delinked payments, and how it calculates the value of them.

4. The NFU is working to help you understand and respond to the consultation

In our exclusive Lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments consultation briefing, we have explained Defra’s proposals in detail and highlighted the consultation questions that relate to them. We’ve added explanations and extra information next to the questions to help you understand what Defra is asking and to support you in forming your views. 

5. Key dates are in July and August 2021

The NFU is seeking views from members on the questions posed by Defra by Friday 16 July 2021. The government consultation period ends at midnight on 11 August 2021.

6. Members can help feed into our response or respond to the consultation directly

After reading the briefing below, members can email their questions, opinions and comments to ZGlyZWN0cGF5bWVudHNjb25zdWx0YXRpb25AbmZ1Lm9yZy51aw==.

There is also the option to respond to the consultation directly.

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NFU members can download the NFU briefing on the lump sum exit scheme and delinked payments consultation.

This briefing contains guidance to help you form opinions on the eligibility and conditions questions. It is accessible to NFU members only and you will be asked to log in.

How to log in: Use your membership number or the email address associated with your membership to log in. If you've forgotten your password, you can click here to reset it or contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.

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Watch again: Everything you need to know about lump sum exit and delinked payments​

NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw and senior BPS adviser Richard Wordsworth hosted an hour-long session to bring members up to speed on the recent announcement from Defra on lump sum exit and delinked payments.

Read answers to the questions submitted by members

How to log in: Use your membership number or the email address associated with your membership to log in. If you've forgotten your password, you can click here to reset it or contact NFU CallFirst on 0370 845 8458.


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Headshot of Tom Bradshaw crops board

NFU responds to lump sum exit payment consultation

Read NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw comments on the government's consultation into the administration of direct payments and a lump sum exit scheme payment for farmers who may be looking to leave the industry.

Mr Bradshaw said: “The NFU wants to see a domestic agricultural policy that allows farm businesses to thrive, rewarding them for both the safe, traceable and affordable food they produce for the nation and their extensive work caring for the countryside.

“As our agricultural support is overhauled, farm businesses across the country will be making life-changing decisions about the future of their farm or tenancy. We want to see a fair transition which allows farmers who are considering leaving the industry to have sufficient time and information to make those significant decisions.”

Individual circumstances

Recognising the personal nature of these decisions and how no two farm businesses are the same, he went on to say, “Each set of circumstances for a farmer considering a lump sum exit payment will be truly unique. We will now be consulting with our members extensively to understand their views on these proposals.”

Looking to future farming

Highlighting the need to attract new people into farming, he said, “Of course, any discussion around people exiting the industry must be coupled with how we attract new people into agriculture. It’s crucial that the schemes announced today work in a coherent way with schemes such as the New Entrant Scheme and Future Farm Resilience Fund to ensure British farming has a thriving workforce for generations to come.”

Trade and policy must work together

Our future trade deals will also influence decisions. Tom Bradshaw summed up by explaining that, “While getting the framework of future agricultural policy schemes right is important, Defra’s policy transition must not ignore the consequences of the government’s new trade deals as these will be absolutely critical to the viability of many family farms. Trade and policy must act in tandem.”

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