Leslie Kaye on why the CAP is a threat to the UK's small farms.
I am probably representative of farmers with smaller farms or smallholdings who have dropped out of the complex and time consuming subsidy schemes or even dropped out of farming altogether. We just want to be outside in the fields producing the best quality food for the family table. The hours are long and the hourly rate below minimum wage but it is a job we love. The last thing we want is to come in after a long day to be faced by a stack of paperwork and compliance. Under EU agricultural policy there is an absolute army of time-wasting and meddling civil servants both from the Department for the Eradication of Farming and Rural Activities and from local authorities who can just show up without appointment as though the place were their own, and demand to inspect records, animals and equipment. Most countries of the world content themselves with a straight forward sales tax managed by retailers. In the EU we have to put up with VAT with its thousands of complex rules and guidance. As a farmer I am charged VAT by my suppliers and then have to sit up late evenings filling out forms to claim it all back from HMRC. Whatever is the point of that? Sanctions with Russia has closed an important market for British farm produce. These have come about because of EU attempts to annex the former Soviet territory of Ukraine. As a consequence of sanctions and failed EU foreign policy, our milk and other farm prices are on the floor. I look forward to leaving the EU, slashing regulation and have simplified best practice. This would be best agreed with knowledgeable industry bodies such as the NFU rather than the faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who have never had a proper job. I would also hope there would be an adult conversation with Russia to reopen this valuable market to British farmers.
European and world markets are far larger than just the EU.