General election – your go-to guide to what's on offer for farming

19 June 2024

Dog outside a polling station

Photograph: David Bagnall / Alamy Stock Photo

Each party has now set out its manifesto for what it would do if elected as the next government. But what have parties promised to do for farming?

Our NFU experts have analysed each party’s most prominent pledges. Use the links below to jump to which party you want to read more about.

You can also jump down the page to view our handy commitment checklist to see who's committed to what at a glance.


The Conservative Party’s manifesto makes the following commitments:

  • Agriculture budget: Increase the UK-wide farming budget by £1 billion over the Parliament, ensuring it rises by inflation in every year. Introduce a new UK-wide £20 million Farming Innovation Fund.
  • Food security: Introduce a legally binding target to enhance food security. The target will apply UK-wide alongside the UK Food Security Index and will also feed into the development of the Land Use Framework. The party also pledged to continue UK farm to Fork Summit every year.
  • Procurement: Spend at least 50% of food expenditure on food produced locally or to higher environmental production standards.
  • Planning: Reform the planning system to deliver fast track permissions for the building of infrastructure on farms, such as glasshouses, slurry and grain stores, and small-scale reservoirs.
  • Labour: Support the agricultural sector with the labour it needs to maintain food security, while moving away from seasonal migrant labour with a five-year visa tapered scheme, alongside clear investment in automation and promoting agri-food careers and skills.
  • Rural crime: Crack down on organised waste crime and deliver enhanced penalties for fly-tipping, giving councils new tools to help tackle offenders.
  • Tax: Retain key tax incentives that encourage small businesses to grow, including the Agricultural Property Relief and Business Relief.

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The Labour Party’s manifesto makes the following commitments:

  • Trade: Publish a trade strategy that promotes the highest standards when it comes to food production.
  • Procurement: a target for half of all food purchased across the public sector to be locally produced or certified to higher environmental standards.
  • Land use: introduce a land-use framework and make environment land management schemes work for farmers and nature.
  • Access: Improve responsible access to nature through the creation of nine new national river walks, the establishment of three new national forests and expansion of wetlands, peatlands and forests.
  • Grid access: Upgrade national transmission infrastructure to improve grid connections.
  • Co-operatives: Double the size of the UK’s co-operative and mutuals sector.
  • bTB: work with farmers and scientists on measures to eradicate bovine TB, protecting livelihoods, so that they can ‘end the ineffective badger cull’.

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Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats’ manifesto makes the following commitments:

  • Agriculture budget: Accelerate the rollout of the new Environmental Land Management schemes, properly funding it with an extra £1 billion a year to support profitable, sustainable and nature-friendly farming.
  • Trade: Ensure Parliament is properly consulted on and signs off on negotiating mandates and any completed international trade agreements. Maintain high health, environmental and animal welfare standards in food production and guarantee that all future trade deals will meet them too, ensuring that Britain’s farmers and food manufacturers are not put at an unfair disadvantage.
  • Supply chain fairness: Strengthen the Groceries Code Adjudicator to protect consumers from unfair price rises and support producers.
  • Subsidies: Ensure farmers receive independent advice about how to transition to new environmental farm payments schemes, with funding for advice services.
  • Biosecurity: Ensuring all imported food meets UK standards for health and welfare, and that goods are properly checked.
  • Land use: a strategic Land and Sea Use Framework to balance competing demands on our land and oceans. Building the grid infrastructure required, facilitated by this Framework.
  • bTB: Develop evidence-based ways of controlling bovine tuberculosis, including by investing to produce workable vaccines.

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The Green Party’s manifesto makes the following commitments:

  • Agriculture budget: Financial support for farmers to be almost tripled to support their transition to nature-friendly farming.
  • Food security: Increase the amount of food grown and traded in the UK, and as locally as possible.
  • Education: Schools to involve children in growing, preparing and cooking food, as part of the core curriculum.
  • Farming practices: An end to ‘factory farming’, enforcement of maximum stocking densities, and no ‘routine use’ of antibiotics in farm animals. A complete ban on ‘close confinement in cages’.
  • Access: Extend people’s access to green space and waterways close to where they live with a new English Right to Roam Act.
  • Pesticides: Immediate end to the emergency authorisation of bee-killing pesticides.
  • bTB: End badger culling.

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Reform UK

Reform UK’s ‘contract’ makes the following commitments:

  • Agriculture budget: £3bn farming budget (the current UK farming budget for the UK is £3.1 billion).
  • Subsidies: Scrap climate-related farming subsidies and replace current subsidies with direct payments.
  • Supply chain fairness: Grant powers to the Competitions and Markets Authority to ensure fair pricing.
  • Labour: Introduce an Employer Immigration Tax which increases the National Insurance rate by 20% for foreign workers. Freeze ‘non-essential immigration’ with healthcare being the only exception.
  • Food security: Set a target for 70% of the food we consume to be UK produced.
  • Procurement:75% of taxpayer funded organisation’s food to be sourced from the UK.
  • Education: Subsidised courses at Agricultural Colleges and apprenticeships to encourage young people into farming.

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Commitment checklist

How do each party’s commitments stack up against the NFU’s manifesto?

See our handy checklist of who’s committed to what below.

If you’re having trouble viewing on your phone or tablet, tilt your screen horizontally.

NFU manifesto policy Lib Dems Cons Lab  Green Reform
Farming for Britain’s Food
Clear commitment to a budget that underpins sustainable domestic food production, delivers for the environment and supports all land tenures. Yes Yes No Partly Partly
Establish a new food security index and target, including a statutory duty to monitor and report on domestic food production levels each year and produce an enhanced policy-focused government food security report annually that assesses the short, medium and long-term viability of the food sector. Partly Yes No Partly Yes
Ensure all new policies and regulations that impact agricultural and horticultural businesses undergo a food security impact assessment. No No No No No
A smooth and seamless transition to new environmental schemes that are open to all farmers and growers, less bureaucratic and ensure profitable long-term food-producing businesses. Yes Yes Yes Partly No
Identify opportunities to increase our market share of foods we can produce sustainably, including a commitment to source 50% of food into the public sector from British farms. Partly Yes Yes No Yes
Hold an annual food summit at No. 10 to ensure food security remains high on the political agenda. No Yes No No No
Establish minimum standards to promote a fair and functioning supply chain and provide arbitration or oversight to uphold them, as well as increasing the powers and resource of the Groceries Code Adjudicator. Yes No No No Partly
Farming for Britain’s environment
Boost a range of incentives to reduce agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, by driving productivity, improving energy efficiency, and reducing the impact of inputs like feed, fertiliser and fuel, while producing more climate-friendly food and increasing green energy use. Partly Partly Partly Partly No
Access to water for livestock and crop production in times of shortages to be guaranteed, reflecting water’s vital role in food production and food security. No No No No No
Plan for, and reward farmers fairly for their role in, mitigating flood risk and protecting adjacent towns and cities, and commit to the proactive management of our watercourses. Partly Partly Yes No No
Support a growing agricultural contribution to renewable energy generation and faster, affordable access to rural electricity grid connections. Partly Partly Yes Partly No
Reward for farmers for maintaining, protecting and enhancing our natural environment. Partly Partly Partly Yes No
The development of environmental markets which work alongside domestic food, energy and fibre production. Partly No No No No
Farming for Britain’s communities
A minimum five-year rolling seasonal worker scheme, with suitable length visas, no wage dfferential from the National Living Wage or unrealistic cap on worker numbers, and implementation of the recommendations of the Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain. No Partly No No No
Responsible management of public access to the countryside. Partly Yes Yes No No
Where major infrastructure projects have the potential to disrupt and damage farmland and farm businesses, ensure steps are taken so farms can keep operating profitably and are properly and promptly compensated for any land taken and damage caused. Yes Partly Yes No No
Make changes to the planning system to ensure permitted development for infrastructure including glasshouses, reservoirs and slurry stores for the purposes of growing and processing fruit, vegetables, crops and livestock. No Yes Partly No Partly
A consistent and coordinated response to rural crime across government and police forces. No No Yes No No
More funding for rural mental health, review current emergency funding mechanisms, establish a dedicated rural mental health funding stream, and include rural mental health on the curriculum of agricultural colleges. Partly No Partly Partly No
Implement the recommendations of the Rock Review into agricultural tenancies. No Partly No No No
Farming for a global Britain
Publish an annual cumulative assessment of Free Trade agreements. No No No No No
Core production standards for agri-food imports. Yes No Yes No No
A cross-government, Treasury-funded plan to deal with issues identified on the government risk register that threaten food production capability. Partly Partly No No No
Enhance the role of AHDB with government matching levy payer funding for export promotion. No Partly No No No
Set out plans to invest in agricultural technology and innovation centres that bring benefits to the UK. Yes Partly No No Partly
Creation of a Scientific Advisory Group for agriculture. No No No No No

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