CAP reform update December 2013

CAP reform - England, Scotland and Wales

The Common Agricultural Policy applies to all countries within the EU although there is some discretion to align overall policy with national objectives. At present, the UK is treated as a single ‘country’, which further reduces the scope for variation. 

For a Q&A of common fears and questions regarding the CAP reform, please navigate through the tabs below.


The fundamental aspects are the same for all the countries. Thus in all EU countries:

• farmers are awarded entitlements that have to be matched with land that they occupy in order to receive subsidy

• entitlement values must converge in a region (although not necessarily becoming equal)

• farmers have to meet the greening obligations of crop diversification, supply of Ecological Focus Area and protection of permanent grassland or equivalent measures

• greening exclusion and inclusion criteria are common and there are no major differences for crop diversification or protection of permanent grass

• there is a scheme to assist Young Farmers under 40

• operators of airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services and permanent sport and recreational grounds have to be excluded but are allowed to reapply where the agricultural activity is significant or business objects include agriculture

• land naturally kept in a condition suitable for grazing or cultivation which is not actively managed should be excluded

• all countries have to reduce receipts over €150,000 by at least 5% (excluding the 30% greening element)

• all countries have to meet cross compliance conditions

Despite the apparent commonality, there are optional aspects and considerable scope to nuance even some of the compulsory measures between the countries of the UK (such as definitions used to assess the excluded businesses). The following table (please click to download PDF version) illustrates a selection of issues (note that some of the details shown have been intimated but not confirmed): 

Table 1: Comparison of Issues between England, Scotland and Wales

Scotland has adopted two significant changes from the other countries:

1. In place of crop diversification the Scottish Government has applied to allow applicants to provide soil cover over a minimum area of the arable land. The method of provision is not agreed but is likely to be the retention of stubble or establishment of a cover crop. If accepted this will not be an option until 2016. Similarly they have applied to make soil analysis, nutrient planning and recording of fertiliser application part of the requirement to retain permanent pasture.

2. Scotland is to retain coupled payments. These are still subject to agreement but likely to be made to calves with at least 75% beef genetics born on Scottish holdings. Twice the rate will be paid on the first 10 calves. Higher rates will be paid on the islands.


Key contacts

Andrew Wraith

Andrew Wraith

Food & Farming

Savills Lincoln

+44 (0) 1522 508 973

+44 (0) 1522 508 973