WESTMORLAND MP Tim Farron has called on the EU to clarify its CAP ‘transition rules’ amid warnings that delay is causing ‘high levels of uncertainty and anxiety’ for UK farmers.
Mr Farron spoke of his concern for the future of vulnerable farms such as Cumbria’s large number of upland holdings fol-lowing a decision by the European Parliament’s agriculture committee not to vote on amendments to the reform of CAP until 2013.
He warned that delays could have a ‘huge impact’ of farmers across the UK, with ‘virtually no pros-pect’ of the new regime coming into force in 2014.
More than 7,400 amend-ments to the CAP were tabled over the summer – a record number which the EU Parliament was strug-gling to debate and vote on by the end of 2012.
Latest indications sug-gest that the earliest a vote could come would be in January. The agriculture committee’s draft position would then need to pass to a full session of the EU Parliament for a vote in March.
Only after that will negotiators be given the authority to open formal talks with the Council of Ministers.
Mr Farron believes that without a new CAP in place, farmers whose agri-environment agreements end after January 1, 2014, may have no new scheme.
He said: “The negotia-tions over CAP reform have been going on for far too long and while we all want to ensure the inte-rests of British farmers are protected, these delays are causing high levels of uncertainty and anxiety for farmers across the UK over the future of their businesses.
“What we need now is to hear from the EU Commission about its plans for transition rules that will be implemented while we wait for the new policy to be introduced. “That way farmers will know where the financial support they need will be coming from and what their future will look like.”