UK House of Lords Report Criticises CAP Expenditure

The European Union Committee of the UK House of Lords have published a report on the 2010 EU Budget, which draws on evidence and views submitted by the UK Government’s Treasury. The report is broadly supportive of expenditure on the European Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) which addresses the economic crisis but critical of expenditure on the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The authors of the report conclude that:

‘We support the Commission’s attempts to focus the Preliminary Draft Budget on economic recovery. However, the EU’s relatively small budget limits its potential to contribute to stimulus efforts, and the system of multi-year ceilings, though useful for discipline and stability, inevitably reduces flexibility. In the light of the recession the distribution of the Budget in favour of agriculture is deeply frustrating.’

the UK government should be ‘spending less on the Common Agricultural Policy and more on competitiveness, growth and jobs’.

The UK is one of the more reform-minded Member States in terms of reform of the CAP and the EU Budget. Thus, it is also of interest that the report also contains oral and written evidence submitted by the UK Government’s Finance Ministry (HM Treasury), some of which makes reference to the issue of CAP reform.

Specifically, Ian Pearson MP, Economic Secretary to HM Treasury, is reported as describing agricultural spending (under the CAP) as ‘poor value-for-money’ and that the UK government should be ‘spending less on the Common Agricultural Policy and more on competitiveness, growth and jobs’.

In addition, the report also refers to responses to the 2008 EU Budget consultation submitted by the House of Lords EU Committee and the UK Government respectively:

  • ‘Direct income support under the CAP should be progressively phased out over the course of the next Financial Perspective. A significant proportion of the funds released should remain earmarked for the rural development element of the policy.’
  • ‘The [UK] Government’s response [to the consultation] focused on the argument for the abolition of price support and direct intervention in agricultural markets, and for other payments under the CAP to focus on delivering environmental benefits to society that would not otherwise be delivered by the market.’

For further information, a copy of the report entitled 'The EC Budget 2010' can be downloaded here.


10 Aug 2009




The Institute for European Environmental Policy coordinates CAP2020. It is an independent not for profit institute which undertakes research in a number of policy areas including agriculture and rural development.