Countryfile viewers blast BBC for negative Brexit coverage ‘What a surprise’

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Ellie Harrison was joined by Tom Heap and Adam Henson for the latest instalment of Countryfile but viewers weren’t impressed with one of the BBC show’s segments. Tom investigated whether the government’s new green subsidy scheme can deliver for farmers in the absence of EU subsidies after Brexit. However, Countryfile viewers took to Twitter to slam the broadcaster for the “negative” segment.

Ellie introduced: “Now the new year has seen vast changes not least for our food producers.”

“But is the future of UK agriculture now green?” she added before passing over to Tom.

“It’s a new dawn,” Tom said. “We’ve now left the EU and the UK is striking out alone. 

“2021 is set to be a year of change with one of the most significant changes to farming policy in a generation.”

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“For decades many British farmers have relied on subsidies they received from the EU to survive,” he continued. 

“Annual payments that increased the more land they farmed.

“For now farmers will continue to receive grants through the basic payment scheme or BPS but things are changing. 

“In the devolved nations where they’re facing significant shortfalls in funding from the government in Westminster, they’re looking at how they’ll replace the scheme as part of a major shake-up of their agricultural policies.”

“And from this year the government here in England will start to replace the old area base subsidies, phasing them out completely by 2028,” Tom said. 

“Payments under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy or CAP will be replaced by ELMS, Environmental Land Management Schemes. 

“This will pay farmers for greener projects like flood prevention and helping wildlife.”

However, Tom learned of the problems faced by UK farmers during the transition period when he spoke to beef and sheep farmer Will. 

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Will revealed: “So looking forward towards the ELMS agreement, some of it is looking really positive but there’s still a lot of things we’re concerned about. We’re seeing out BPS payments drop and it’s not leaving us with a lot of time to adapt and change.” 

“Rather than having this fence [on the land], we could build an earth bank. At the moment we haven’t had the assurances we need from the government to actually start making these changes. It’s very well having the line ‘public money for public goods’ but we need to start clarifying what are these public goods and what are they worth?’”

BBC viewers didn’t appreciate the segment as one tweeted: “Took Countryfile about 8 minutes to take a dig at the govt, typical BBC.”

“What a surprise. The BBC’s #countryfile typically BBC negative about #brexit. So used to living off subsidy and quotas they can’t think about how to run a sustainable business for the benefit of UK citizens,” another added.

A third vented: “BBC have ruined @BBCCountryfile with their lecturing tone. Stop making judgments on everyone. Just tell us about farming and countryside. We’re interested. You can do that. #countryfile #bbc.”

Someone else shared: “Watching CountryFile and I’m reminded that I always thought the EU’s agriculture policies were far too wasteful and far too centralised. I voted Remain but the EU’s failure to democratise, decentralise & devolve wherever practical was partly responsible for Brexit.”

“That’s all I need on a Sunday evening #Environment minister George Useless Eustice #Farmers stand to lose between 60 precent to 80 percent of their #EU subsidy based income. Wow. Replacement scheme doesn’t answer shortfall or problems created by less UK #Food production#Countryfile,” a fifth commented. 

Countryfile continues on BBC One on Sunday at 6am. 

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