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CAP conference highlights options for direct payments


This week saw the Scottish Government seek stakeholder views on the implementation of direct support payments under the new CAP regime. The Scottish Government showcased their recent modelling work that has examined a range of possible Pillar 1 (direct payments) implementation scenarios in order to allow stakeholders to understand the choices that have to be made and the impact of different decisions.  
Under the new CAP regime, arrangements for which are being hammered out in Brussels at the moment, the Scottish Government will have a large amount of discretion in terms of how it moves from the current historic approach of the Single Farm Payment to area payments. Scottish Government will have to create ‘regions’ that can be robustly defended on the basis of objective criteria and they will have to establish objective mechanisms for allocating budgets to those regions. This week’s conference provided stakeholders with an opportunity to provide input into the process and Scottish Government thinking. 
Two front runners for creating regions are 1) using the Land Capability for Agriculture classification and 2) using broad land type classes such as arable, permanent grass and rough grazing, with different payment rates associated with each class. 
One key message from the conference was that whichever approach is adopted there will be some redistribution of support from intensive to extensive producers. The modelling then looked at the potential implications of various scenarios for different sizes of farm, sectors and areas.
There are difficult decisions ahead and we must recognise that there is no perfect system; all approaches have pros and cons. The challenge for government and stakeholders is finding the approach that achieves an appropriate balance so that we can attempt to meet all our objectives. 
Scottish Land & Estates was represented at the conference by Luke Borwick, David Seed and Andrew Midgley.
Scottish Government are looking for further input over the coming month and Andrew Midgley will be working with the Primary Industries policy group and consulting the wider membership to ensure that our member’s views are represented. More information will be available in the Members Area of the website. 

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