Farming Fallout: Brexit Backers Demand Universal Basic Income

British farmers advocate for a universal basic income amidst post-Brexit struggles, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable financial support in the agricultural sector. Here’s the full story. 

Cracks in the Dam

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With the much-vaunted sunlit uplands of Brexit completely failing to appear, the cracks in the post-Brexit uplands of Brexit plans are starting to appear. 

Turkeys Voting For Christmas

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Following the referendum on whether to remain or leave the EU, one of the main concerns voiced by British farmers who, as a group, voted to leave the EU was what would happen to the EU subsidies they received once the UK left their largest trading block behind. 

No Magic Money Tree

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The funds the UK government promised have similarly failed to appear, at least in the sums the EU previously provided. 

Continued Delays

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This has left British farmers grappling with substantial challenges, which have only been exacerbated by continued delays in implementing new agricultural subsidy schemes and the uncertainty they bring. 

Radical Solutions

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The phased withdrawal from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has left many farmers facing financial uncertainty, prompting farmers to call for a radical solution: a universal basic income (UBI) for all farmers across the United Kingdom. 

Financial Hardship

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The departure from the EU has triggered significant disruptions in the agricultural sector. Delays establishing sustainable farming schemes post-Brexit have resulted in financial losses for many farmers, particularly in England. 

Unspent Funds

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With low subscription rates and unspent funds from the allocated farming budget, the transition has been particularly challenging. 

Complex Issues

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Meanwhile, divergent schemes in Scotland and Wales and the unresolved situation in Northern Ireland, where Stormont has not met for over two years, further compound the complexity of the issue as a whole.

Nature Payments

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Government initiatives, such as nature payments schemes aimed at compensating farmers for providing public goods, have not filled the void left by EU subsidies. 

Insufficient Funding

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While these schemes were not intended to precisely replicate CAP payments, they have proven insufficient for many farmers, leaving them financially vulnerable.

Universal Basic Income

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Amidst mounting financial pressures, a grassroots movement has emerged, advocating for a universal basic income (UBI) for farmers. 

Sustainable Financial Support

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The newly formed campaign group, BI4Farmers, has garnered support from over 100 farmers, which showcases the dire situation farmers face and the urgent need for sustainable financial support in the industry. 

Risk of Bankruptcy

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These farmers argue that EU subsidies previously served as a lifeline and that without comparable support, many risk facing bankruptcy.

Environmentally Friendly Farming

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Notably, sustainable farming groups have thrown their weight behind the call for UBI, recognizing its potential to empower farmers to adopt environmentally friendly practices without jeopardizing their livelihoods. 

Innovative Approaches

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By providing a financial safety net, UBI could enable farmers to explore innovative approaches to agriculture, such as reducing pesticide use, thereby contributing to the country’s greatly diminished environmental goals.

“Important Safety Net”

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Experts in the field have voiced support for implementing UBI in the agricultural sector. From the sustainable farming campaign Sustain, Will White stated, “Universal basic income could be an important safety net for farm workers and small new entrant growers, providing financial security that liberates them to pursue agro-ecological practices without the looming pressure of financial survival.”

“Better Funding”

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He continued, “When paired with better funding for environmental land management schemes, UBI has the potential to significantly bolster the agricultural sector’s overall resilience. Looking into radical yet promising solutions like this is essential. We support a deeper exploration of how basic income policies could work in the UK context and are watching this campaign with interest.”

“Fairer Food System”

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Ruth West, a co-founder of the Oxford Real Farming Conference, stated, “Concerned citizens, farmers in dire straits, policymakers and all those who care about a fairer food system should get onboard and help move this practical, doable plan to the next phase.”

“Golden Opportunity”

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She continued, “BI4Farmers presents us with a golden opportunity for a sustainable farming future. It’s an opportunity we must not miss.”

New Talent

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Proponents argue that UBI could offer farmers financial stability, improve their work-life balance, and facilitate the entry of new talent into the agricultural sector. 

Sustainable and Equitable

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By alleviating financial pressures, UBI has the potential to foster a more sustainable and equitable farming sector. This, in theory, would allow farmers to better navigate the challenges posed by Brexit.

Growing Louder

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As British farmers navigate the uncertainties of the post-Brexit landscape, the call for a universal basic income for farmers is growing louder. 

Why Stop There?

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However, should that turn out to be a solution for the problems of the largely self-inflicted wounds that Brexit has caused farmers, the question remains: why stop there?

Universal Basic Income For All?

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In a country where poverty is on the rise, the cost of living crisis is running rampant, and the economy has officially re-entered recession, calls for a universal basic income for all, not just for farmers, may emerge as a viable solution to the economic malaise the country finds itself in. 

The post Farming Fallout: Brexit Backers Demand Universal Basic Income first appeared on Swift Feed.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Budimir Jevtic.

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