FUNDING for farming after Brexit should be ring-fenced to support the rural economy and environment, MPs have urged.

When the UK leaves the European Union, it will also quit the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which governs policy and pays subsidies to farmers worth £3 billion a year in the UK

The Government has proposed new measures which will focus payments on providing “public goods” such as creating wildlife habitat, protecting cherished landscapes, reducing flooding and improving air quality.

But there is an “absence of detail” in the proposals which have been put out to consultation, the parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has warned.

MPs on the committee have called for a Government commitment to fully funding a new agricultural policy using ring-fenced funds.

Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, said: “Funding for farming must certainly be ring-fenced after Brexit.

“Any switch to whatever new regime is adopted must only be implemented if transition payments are in place to help farmers make the adjustment from a regime upon which they have depended for a large proportion of their income for the last 40 years.”

Around 42 per cent of farmers are not profitable without their direct payments, and particular sectors such as sheep farming and smaller farms are likely to be more affected by the end of subsidies.

Neil Parish, chairman of the EFRA committee, said: “A new funding model for agriculture is essential for the future prosperity of UK farming.

“As we leave the EU we must ensure we maintain our standards, and those importing into the UK meet our high standards of production.

“The Government should commit to funding the future agricultural policy using ring-fenced funds, consider new support mechanisms such as tax breaks and capital grant support, ensure that trade agreements demand that imported products meet our standards, and avoid a regulatory race to the bottom.”

The report also warned an independent inspection regime to check public money is being legitimately spent must be properly funded.

Mr Liddell-Grainger added: “As to ‘environmental goods’ it’s an easy matter to bandy this term around but the fact is British farmers already deliver those – as any view of the British countryside will demonstrate.”