The Government is to offer a further £1.2bn to buy TSP farmland from investors for £1,000 per hectare, it has announced.
The Government said the loans will help farmers who have been hit by the collapse of the TSP as part of the land market collapse, as the new crop-raising schemes are designed to boost the economy.
“We will be making a number of investments to support farmers, including buying farmland for farmers who are struggling to get a return on their investments and supporting farmers who need a boost to get on the agricultural growth ladder,” said a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DAFRA).
“The Government’s land reform plans will see the purchase of farmland by the government for farmers from the private sector for the first time in more than 50 years.”‘
Pioneering land reforms’In the run-up to the 2016 general election, the Government announced that it was planning to take control of nearly 60% of British farmland and would buy it back at a price that would give farmers a return of 1.5%.
“As part of our land reform programme, the government will buy farmland from the public sector and then sell it back to farmers at a cost that is equivalent to the price paid for farmland purchased previously by the public,” said the spokeswoman.
The loans will be made available to farmers in England, Wales and Scotland, but not Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.
“These loans will support farmers who may not have had the resources to buy their land outright, but are in need of the support to rebuild their farm businesses,” the spokeswoman added.
“The loans also will allow farmers to take a stake in their own businesses and invest in new growth.”
The new loans will go towards land and infrastructure projects in areas like forestry, rural housing and infrastructure.
The £1 billion investment will help the Government meet its 2020 target of having more than 10% of farmland owned by the taxpayer.
“This is the first phase of a wider land reform agenda which includes the purchase and sale of land by the private market, the acquisition of land and the provision of farmland for agriculture,” said David Cameron, the Prime Minister.
“As a result of this, we will be increasing the amount of farmland in the UK for farmers.”
Farmers’ group Cymru Wales said the Government’s decision was an important step forward for farmers.
“I welcome the announcement by the Government that it will buy land from the farmers for the very first time since the end of the Great Famine,” said Cymraeg Davies, CymRuach’s regional director.
“With the announcement of this loan, the Tsp will be able to support its farmers and help them build their businesses.”
Farmland is one of the biggest industries in the country, accounting for around 20% of the economy and supporting around 7 million jobs.
The government said it wanted to see more investment in land and to support people and their businesses.
“A number of investment projects are under way to help farmers rebuild their business and grow their businesses and the Government will continue to invest in rural land reform,” the spokesperson said.
“Land reform is one area where the Government is working closely with farmers and their partners to bring investment to a more sustainable level.”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is also planning to spend £2bn on land reform and £1b on other projects.DECC is the government body which will manage the land reform, and the funding for this will be allocated through a scheme called Land Loans for Rural Growth (LNRG).
The government has been pushing for a land reform that will give farmers greater control over their farms and allow them to take on more riskier investments.
“Land is a critical resource for our country’s economic and social recovery and we need to see the government invest in it to ensure that the UK’s farmers can have a better future and thrive in a world where people no longer live in fear of what they eat, drink or wear,” said DECC.
“There are many areas of land that have been left vacant, abandoned and blighted by the destruction of the farming sector.
This funding will be a key component in ensuring that the farmers and communities that have worked so hard to build this country can continue to do so.”