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On 12 September 2018 the Government made announcements about the future of the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). 

Under plans outlined in the government’s long-awaited Agriculture Bill, farm subsidies in England will be phased out over seven years, ending in 2027.  Direct payments will be replaced with a new system of “public money for public goods”, largely based on rewarding farmers who undertake environmental measures.

But there are no guarantees that money made available under the new system will match the total amount currently paid to farmers as direct payments.

The Agriculture Bill suggests that direct payments in 2019 and 2020 will be made on much the same basis as now – subject to simplifications where the government deems possible.

Seven-year transition

From 2021, however, direct payments to farmers in England will start to be phased out – disappearing completely by 2027.

Defra secretary Michael Gove said the seven-year agricultural transition period would give farmers time to adjust as they planned for the future.

Mr Gove said: “The introduction of the Agriculture Bill is a historic moment as we leave the EU and move towards a brighter future for farming.”

The government says direct payments will be “delinked” from the requirement to farm the land for the duration of the transition period.

Farmers will be able to use the money to invest in their business, diversify their activities or else retire from farming and give way for new entrants into the sector.