GE24: A budget supporting stability for farming businesses

24 May 2024

Our research shows that an annual agricultural budget of around £4 billion would support the delivery of a balanced agricultural policy, with £720 million needed to support the economic stability of agricultural businesses.

Under current arrangements, in 2024 the sector will receive in the region of £720m of stability funding (through delinked direct payments), a reduction of around £1.1bn compared to the original BPS figure in 2020.

The Andersons Centre* research showed that all nine of the countries we were benchmarked against provided some degree of stability support to their agricultural sectors.

The £720m proposed is lower than relative support delivered in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Denmark, but higher than in Australia and New Zealand.

The next government should retain a similar level of stability funding, with any reductions viewed as significantly undermining the resilience of a sector which is already facing significant economic challenges.

Providing the foundations to deliver

Investing in the economic stability of the agricultural sector benefits everyone.

Stabilising farming incomes allows farm businesses to look beyond short-term market and cashflow pressures and invest for the long-term in productivity and environmental delivery.

These are activities which, without stability funding, would require a higher intervention rate to secure participation.

This ultimately provides the foundation for a resilient, competitive and sustainable domestic agricultural sector which delivers on food security and for the environment.

Multifaceted factors

This stability support has multiple objectives, including providing economic resilience to domestic food production and, in turn, the rural economy, as well as mobilising the delivery of positive social benefits from the countryside.

Manifesto graphic - Division (002)

The environmental scheme incentive payment will offer a degree of stable income support which will be limited to those farmers who are able to sufficiently engage in these schemes.

Environmental delivery on key outcomes, such as water and biodiversity, is often location-based and therefore offers varying degrees of opportunity for farmers, depending on where they farm and their farming system.

The stability payment would offer targeted support to those farmers who cannot use other diversified income streams, such as through environmental schemes, to build the economic stability of their businesses.

Download the NFU’s general election manifesto

Our general election manifesto – Farming for Britain's Future – outlines our key asks of the next government to ensure farmers and growers can continue to deliver for the environment, economy and local communities while producing more of the great British food we all enjoy.

More on division of funding

*The Andersons Centre provides industry-leading business advice, research and analysis to the agricultural, rural and food sectors across the UK