Food and farming is a bedrock of our economy and environment, generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes. I am pleased that the Government has guaranteed the annual farm budget for each year of this Parliament and nearly £3 billion will top up the remaining EU funding to match the total funding for direct payments that was available for 2019.
Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. We can bring in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare.
The Agriculture Bill will allow the UK to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods including environmental protection, access to the countryside, and work to reduce flooding. In order to spend more on boosting productivity and environmental benefits, Direct Payments will be phased out over an agricultural transition period, which is due to start in 2021 and run for seven years.
However, the grant funding system is structured against us. In a recent government grant scheme, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were given 60 per cent grant funding, when the Isle of Wight received 40 per cent. Government does not recognise water as a factor in assessing Remote Area Status. We need this changed.
I am pleased that the Agriculture Bill will champion British food by improving transparency and fairness in the supply chain and through investing in new technology and research to ensure our food producers remain competitive and innovative. The Government will also help food producers strengthen their negotiating position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return by collecting data from across the supply chain.
For the Island, I have been making the case to Government that we need support to create a circular economy which will suit our farmers and food producers better. Now, all livestock to be slaughtered has to be exported to the mainland which is inhumane and adds to cost. It would be preferable if we can have a small-scale abattoir or a humane and safe farm slaughterhouse. We also need milk storage and improved grain storage facilities and I am working with others on achieving this.
We must take this opportunity to use public money to reward environmentally responsible land use, as well as maintaining and enhancing high standards of animal welfare. I am convinced that we will harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us.