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Roger Parry & Partners back farmers’ calls for Defra to have a flexible approach to Exit Scheme

24th August 2021

Roger Parry & Partners have backed calls for Defra to have a more flexible approach for those older farmers looking to retire as part of the government’s proposed Exit Scheme.

In responding to the recent consultation on the proposed Exit Scheme the NFU made its response clear on behalf of its members – ‘We need to see a domestic agriculture policy that gives farmers thinking of leaving the industry enough time and information to make those life changing decisions that affect their farming future.’

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners said, “We agree with the NFU that a flexible approach is necessary when it comes to the detail of the proposed Exit Scheme. From our discussions with older farming clients it is clear that many are concerned about the loss of the family home and income. As the NFU has stated, a flexible approach would reduce barriers for those wishing to exit the industry. Allowing those exiting the industry to keep their residential property and/or any non-farming related business would help.”

As part of the transition to the new agriculture policy in England the government plans to:

  • In 2022, offer farmers who wish to exit the industry the option of taking a lump sum payment in place of any further Direct Payments; and
  • In 2024, ‘delink’ Direct Payments from the land for all farmers. This means that recipients will no longer have to farm the land to receive the payments.

At the launch of the Exit Scheme consultation the Government’s Environment Secretary, George Eustice, explained, “We need to address the twin challenges of helping new entrants fulfil their dream and gain access to land, while also helping an older generation retire with dignity. Our Exit Scheme will offer farmers real incentive to confront what can often be a difficult decision and will help them clear bills and settle debts.”

In response, Richard Corbett said, “We agree with the Environment Secretary when he says that new entrants are the lifeblood of any vibrant industry and farming is no exception. He must appreciate however that new entrants will need as much advice and support from the government as those exiting the industry.”

The Exit Scheme Consultation period closed on 11 August and it is expected that the application period for the lump sum exit scheme to be in the first half of 2022.