Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

UK Government's "Vision for the CAP" Report published

UK Government's "Vision for the CAP" Report published

The Committee published ' The UK Government's "Vision for the CAP" ', its Fourth Report 2006-07 (HC 546-I), on 23 May 2007. The House of Commons debated this report on Monday 9 July 2007.

Oral and Written Evidence (HC 546-II) was published on 24 May 2007.

The Government response was received on 25 July and published on 13 November.

Terms of Reference

On 2 December 2005, HM Treasury and Defra launched their joint paper, 'A Vision for the Common Agricultural Policy'. This report is intended to stimulate debate by describing where the UK Government is aiming to get to, in terms of European agricultural policy reform, in 10 to 15 years' time.

The Committee has been interested for some time in what the Government means by further reform of the CAP. Therefore, the Committee has decided to examine the Government's proposals, in order to explore the 'vision' in detail and test the validity of the assumptions underlying its conclusions. The Committee invites written evidence on the following topics:

Expenditure on "Pillar 1" of the CAP

The Government's vision questions the justification for existing expenditure in Pillar 1 of the CAP (market support and direct payments) and recommends phasing out all support by 2020. The EFRA Committee is interested in the likely impact of these proposals, with specific reference to:

- food security - does the Government remain committed to UK food production?

- potential distortions and inequality of treatment of farmers across the EU

- possible environmental consequences of the proposals
the extent to which the proposed changes to the CAP would result in lower food prices and (through reduced public spending on the CAP) a lower level of taxation

- how such a revised CAP would enable the EU's farmers to be more competitive

- how the proposals would differently affect the tenanted and non-tenanted sectors across the EU

- the implications of the proposals for the applicant countries to the EU.

The rural economy

The Committee is interested in how the UK's rural economy would fare under the changes proposed in the report.

International issues

The Committee is interested in the report's assessment of the impact of CAP reform on developing countries, and its conclusions about the erosion of trade preferences and the potential benefits of a liberalised agricultural market in the EU and other OECD countries. The Committee is also interested in the effect the proposals would be likely to have on the global economy more widely.

The wider debate on future financing of the CAP

The EFRA Committee is interested in how the reforms proposed in the report could be achieved in practice, and how these changes relate to the ongoing debate surrounding the future financing of the CAP. What barriers might be put in the way of implementing such reforms by other EU member states?

Oral Evidence Sessions

Wednesday 18 October 2006
National Farmers' Union; Tenant Farmers Association; Natural England

Monday 16 October 2006
Mariann Fischer Boel, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development

Wednesday 12 July 2006
David Miliband MP, Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Tuesday 11 July 2006 (Meeting postponed)
National Farmers' Union; Natural England

Tuesday 4 July 2006 (at the Royal Agricultural Show)
Panel 1: Mr Jamie Blackett, Mr Andrew Brown, Mrs Gillian Herbert and Mr Guy Smith;
Panel 2: Mr Robert Barlow, Mrs Jilly Greed, Mr Roger James and Mr John Turner;
Panel 3: Mr Carl Atkin, Mr Steve Cowley, Mr Tony Keene, Mr Hugo Marfleet and Mrs Chris Thomas

Wednesday 14 June
Country Land and Business Association; RSPB and CPRE