The current CAP program period runs from 2014 to 2020. This is scheduled to be the last in which the United Kingdom participates.The aggregate value of the schemes for England are £15 billion. Most of the payment is through the Basic Payment Scheme including the Greening payment and Young Farmer payment which together replace the Single Payment Scheme.

Pillar one of the Common Agricultural Policy provides direct payments to farmers and market control measures.Pillar two promotes rural development programmes in each member state or region. Rural development programmes may support the environment, farming, food, forestry, economic and social development in rural areas.

The 2014-20  Rural Development Programme invests £3.5 billion into environment and rural support over the seven-year period. The programme seeks to support  the environment, forestry and farming sectors, business and communities in rural areas.The UK government decided to transfer 12% of pillar one (payment support) to pillar two of the RDP with an increased focus on supporting environmental improvements

The budget is spent as follows

  • Country Stewardship scheme 87%
  • LEADER 4%
  • Countryside Productivity 4%
  • Growth programme 5%

The Country Stewardship Scheme is dealt with in the article on additional payments. Countryside Productivity supports farming and forestry productivity, new enterprises and technology.  The Growth programme supports rural business development, broadband ,renewable energy and rural tourism.

Funding is available to starting and growing business in a range of facilities. This may be through the local enterprise partnership and leader local action groups. The partnerships decide how much money they will spend in their area to

  • develop business knowledge and skills
  • support small business or micro-business
  • invest in broadband and renewable energy
  • support rural tourism


Leader is the French acronym  approximating to liaison among actors in rural economic development. It is a bottom-up community led approach to funding.LEADER is founded on a principle of delegating powers of strategy and decision making to the local level through Local Action Groups (LAGs). LEADER will also work alongside the Growth Programme.

Leader local action groups are comprised of public, private and civil society. There are delegated powers to bring forward and fund local projects in line with the local development strategy.

There are 79 leader groups approved covering approximately 85% of the rural population of England.The bottom-up, community-led LEADER approach, is intended to have a much greater focus on job creation and growth in rural areas.

LEADER spending equates to 5% of EU funding. This equates to 4% of the total Rural Development Programme for 2014-2020, which includes EU funding, exchequer matched funding and inter-pillar transfer funding

In terms of the overall balance of expenditure for LEADER, 70% of all projects must directly support the rural economy. This could, for example, be through creating and developing small and medium-sized rural businesses.

The remaining 30% of projects must also demonstrate that are making a contribution to improving the local rural economy, by, for example, projects which increase visitors to a particular area thereby increasing spend on local rural business and services.

The main priorities for investment through LEADER are

  • Support for micro and small enterprises and farm diversification;
  • Support for increasing farm productivity;
  • Support for rural tourism;
  • Support for increasing forestry productivity;
  • Provision of rural services; and
  • Support for cultural and heritage activity

LEADER supports job and growth in rural areas

Growth Programme

Development and delivery of the Growth Programme is informed by the investment strategies that the  Local Enterprise Partnerships in England have drawn  up in alignment with their wider Strategic Economic Plans.

Defra has allocated 5% of the total Rural Development funding available in 2014-2020 to contribute to the SI Funds Growth Programme delivered through LEPs.

The Growth programme scheme seeks  to promote

  • business development
  • tourism infrastructure
  • food processing

Business development grants assist small businesses to grow and create employment.Grant funding can assist in payment for constructing and improving buildings and buying new equipment and machinery.Grants can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs of the project. State aid rules  limit funding to one €200,000

There are a series of national and local priorities in respect of business development grants. The priorities are the creation of new higher skilled higher paid jobs. At least one such job should be created for £30,000 of grant funding.

The grow your business element seeks to assist increased turnover and profitability. The open new markets element assists businesses in selling goods to new customers and markets.The export assistance element helps business access export markets

Tourism infrastructure grants seek to support projects that will encourage more tourists to come, stay longer and spend more money in rural areas. The grants help the cost of capital expenditure on tourism infrastructure . There is a minimum of £35,000 and maximum €200,000.Grants should create jobs extend this tourism season develop tourist attractions and infrastructures confer wider benefits

Food processing grants may assist food and drink businesses that process agricultural and horticultural products to help businesses grow and create new jobs. Grant funding can help pay for

  • construction and improvement of buildings
  • buying new equipment and
  • machinery

The minimum grant is £35,000 the maximum €200,000

Countryside Productivity

The Countryside Productivity scheme contemplates grants and measures in the below categories.

Water resource management and improving farm productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation, securing water supplies for crop irrigation by construction of an farm reservoirs. The maximum grant rate is 40%.  The minimum grant of £35,000 with no maximum

Improving forestry productivity through felling extraction and adding value by primary processing. Private forest holders managing at least 10 ha and micro small and medium-size forestry contractors are eligible. The maximum grant is 40%

Improve farm productivity such as through

  • the use of robotic equipment to aid crop or livestock production
  • increased use of renewable energy produced on farm by improving energy storage and distribution
  • use of LED wavelength controlled lighting to aid crop production
  • more efficient use of livestock slurries and digestate

Adding value to agri-food. The purpose is to improve processing of primary agricultural products, to shorten supply chains and deliver benefits to primary producers.

Pay for equipment machinery and constructing or improving buildings associated with all aspects of processing

Expenditure Priorities

The Rural Development Program support for farm and forestry productivity seeks to help drive long-term productivity improvements by focusing expenditure on

  • Innovative technology diffusion
  • knowledge exchange
  • competitiveness and supply chains relationship
  • resource efficiency and management
  • animal health and welfare
  • help innovate, use new technology and use latest research and business
  • improve skills and training
  • cooperate and collaborate with other farmers foresters and others in the land-based sector
  • support projects that benefit the environment in a number of ways
  • Rural broadband and small-scale renewables; and
  • Tourism.


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