New research at University of Gloucestershire has identified £883 million is predicted to be lost from the rural economy up to 2027 across the South West.
Farmers and other land managers are coming to terms with the move away from Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support, but the transition is proving difficult, and the replacement Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) has had an uncertain start in the region.
The CCRI study was funded by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP, Dorset LEP, National Farmers Union (NFU) and Heart of the South West LEP to shed light on the impact new payment schemes will have on the farming and rural community across the South West.
The report indicates that with up to £440 million less to spend on materials and services, there will be a significant knock-on for South West jobs and businesses.
The region’s rural economy, which is dependent on small, family-run farms, is particularly vulnerable to the financial impact of the transition. With farming being a significant driver for the region’s economy, the predicted impact on the sector’s supply chains, producers, suppliers, business owners and workers is widespread.
Chris Short, Associate Professor in Environmental Governance at the CCRI, co-investigator at NICRE and lead researcher on the report, said: “The impact of the transition on the South West’s agricultural sector and wider rural economy should not be underestimated.
“Many farms in this region are typically small, family businesses, particularly vulnerable to a loss of support. This funding is disappearing, just as living and business costs are rising sharply across the country.
“Any reduction in spending at farm level will have a direct impact on the wider rural economy. The impact of these changes will also be felt far beyond the farm gate.”