Country Land & Business Association

16 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PQ

tel: 020 7235 0511


2 October 2003

Why are we fighting amongst us?
Government using CAP reform to divide and rule

The single most important decision for farmers and landowners to secure their future is due by the end of next week. Yet the full legal text of CAP Reform 2003 that is setting landowner against tenant and farmer against farmer was only published this week. Why is Government forcing England to decide its fate by 10 October, when other EU countries haven’t even started to consult their farmers yet? Is DEFRA attempting to divide and rule?

President of the CLA Edward Greenwell says: “The CAP reform was only agreed this July, and because of a lack of leadership from our Government at the European negotiating table, we are left with a complete muddle over several issues, such as how inherited agricultural payments will be managed. The whole consultation process has become confused and rushed.

“Why are we forced to reach a decision by 10 October when the rest of Europe and the UK have more time to debate and consult on critical issues, such as whether farm payments should be calculated on a regional or historical basis? Has the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) written to each and every farmer explaining how the CAP reform will affect the next ten years of their working life?

“Rumours are already circulating about which payments representative organisations are opting for, but the issue is too important to make a quick decision on. The CLA is currently consulting its members to ensure they are aware of and have a say in their future. We have even secured an extension to the consultation deadline to allow our policy-making committee to meet and consider the future of farm payments.

“But reaching an agreement may prove to be an impossible task. How can Government expect industry to make a rapid decision which, whatever they decide, will see half their members losing out? By rushing us, DEFRA is forcing us to argue amongst ourselves rather than work together to secure a collective agreement that is best for the long term interests of those involved in farming.”

Notes to the Editor:

For further information or to speak to CLA President Sir Edward Greenwell, contact Jenny Gimpel, CLA National Press Officer, on tel: 020 7460 7936, mobile: 07855 788 985, e-mail:

Dr Jenny Gimpel
National Press Officer
Country Land and Business Association
16 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8PQ
Tel: 020 7460 7936
Mobile: 07855 788 985
Fax: 020 7235 4696