Government Announces Reorganisation of Support for Farmers and Landowners

Plans to refocus government funding programmes for England’s rural businesses have been set out at the Country Land and Business Association’s annual Rural Business Conference.

The Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, has announced plans to streamline and simplify government support for farmers, following the country’s decision to leave the European Union.

The Secretary of State has outlined how Defra will make practical and pragmatic changes to existing farm support systems, improving the process and enabling farmers to focus on their day-to-day activities.

Michael Gove believes the current system of farm support to be inefficient, ineffective, inequitable, and environmentally harmful. He has spoken of a need to change the way the government invests in the countryside so farmers can more readily access support to protect wildlife, enhance the environment and improve land use.

To begin the reorganisation process, there will be simplifications made to the Countryside Stewardship Scheme through the creation of four new streamlined offers which are set to launch early in the New Year. The revised offers are expected to have a simpler application process, with less paperwork, making it easier for farmers and land managers to apply and deliver environmental benefits on their land.

The Secretary of State also announced further support including a further £45 million top-up to the RDPE Growth Programme to help rural business development, food processing and rural infrastructure projects.

The Government has already pledged to match the support farmers currently receive from the CAP until the end of the current parliament and set out its intention to continue supporting farmers where the environmental benefits are clear.

Michael Gove said:

“I have set out plans to improve our current schemes, starting with simplifying support for farmers to protect and enhance our landscapes and countryside.

“But these measures are just the beginning – the first steps towards a simplified system of support. Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be working closely with our farmers to make sure we listen to what they want as we design a new approach and realise our vision for the future of UK food and farming outside the EU.”

Source: Defra, 28/11/2017


£14 Million Water Resource Management Grants for England’s Arable Farmers

These grants are to improve farm productivity in England through more efficient use of water for irrigation, and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

Farmers in England are being encouraged to make use of new grant funding available to improve and construct water resources. The £14 million funding for Water Resource Management Grants was first announced in the summer, as part of the Countryside Productivity Scheme.

The aim is to improve farm and horticultural productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

The minimum grant which can be applied for is £35,000. The maximum grant available is £1 million and the grant can be used to fund up to 40% of a project’s total cost.

Grant funding can help pay for:

  • construction of a water storage reservoir (above or below ground) filled by either peak flow surface water abstraction, borehole or rain water harvested from buildings;
  • abstraction point, pump and pipework to fill the reservoir;
  • irrigation pump, controls, underground water distribution main;
  • water metering equipment;
  • best practice application equipment such as boom or trickle irrigation;
  • software and sensors to optimise water application.

These grants are for arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated crops in England.

Rural adviser at the CLA (Country Land and Business Association), Katy Anderson, said:

“Grants like this are not always available. A previous scheme closed back in January 2016 so it is extremely important that anyone considering making improvements to water resource management does not miss out.

“Applicants with projects demonstrating improved productivity, business growth, efficiency and better financial resilience stand more chance of gaining funding. Collaborative ventures between farms also stand a better chance.”

Initially a deadline of early April 2018 was set for applications. However, this has now been extended until 29 June 2018.!S43579?bcr=MTIzNQ

European funding workshops for rural businesses – December 8th, 2017

Don’t miss out on current EU funding opportunities for micro and small businesses. (fewer than 50 employees, turnover less than 10m Euros)

Free support and advice on eligibility and the application process for GRANT money.

Friday December 8th 2017 – 7:30am – 6:00pm

Kieran Carr and Alison Earl will be offering informal one to one sessions in the offices of Grovemere Property Ltd, Unit 112, Lancaster Way Business Park, Ely, Cambs CB6 3NX

If you wish to attend please book a one hour time slot with Alison Earl, 01353 865044

workshop invite Dec 2017


So far  the Cambridgeshire Fens LEADER programme has granted over £500,000 to 13 local businesses across the county, and there is still  funding available. We predict that the current funding  for our area will have been allocated to projects in the pipeline by April 2018.


We have an opportunity to apply for additional funding for our area if other businesses are looking for money to support their project. We need to receive your Expressions of Interest by April 2018.

Where possible,  projects should be finished and paid for by 31 March 2019.

Contact Kieran or Alison for further information

Government Announces £40 Million Fund to Improve England’s Farm Productivity

Environment Secretary opens a £40 million grants scheme for investment in farm technology and equipment.

Farmers in England are poised to receive a £40 million productivity boost as the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, announces the opening of a new grant scheme investing in state-of-the-art technology and new equipment.

Speaking at the 2017 World Dairy Summit in Belfast, the Secretary of State is inviting farmers and food processors to apply for grants through the Countryside Productivity Scheme. Under the scheme, grants are available to help livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers improve farm productivity by investing in new technology, such as robotics, in order to reduce costs or improve product quality.

Funding can be used on diverse investments, from robotic milking machines to green technology. The scheme also offers funds for farmers and food processors to invest in new equipment and machinery to improve the processing of milk, meat and fruit.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Michael Gove said:

“Farmers truly are the backbone of our rural economy and as the original friends of the earth, we want to support them to grow more, sell more and export more great British produce – all while doing good for our environment.

“This new funding is a wonderful opportunity for our farmers and food processors to invest in the technology they need to boost productivity, competition and, of course, sustainability as a key factor in future proofing our world leading food and farming industry.”

The Countryside Productivity Scheme is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and this latest announcement is the second phase of the Large Grants scheme announced in July 2017, offering grants between £35,000 and £1 million.

Applications are currently being accepted. More details at:

Countryside Productivity Scheme

24/10/2017 – Lloyds Bank Launches £500 Million Fund for Business Growth

Lloyds in the UK has launched a £500 million growth fund, which aims to help British businesses access the investment needed to boost productivity and growth.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has announced a new £500 million growth fund, designed to help businesses improve productivity through investment in equipment and technology.

The initiative will support sectors where highly specialised machinery and innovations can enhance commercial productivity and market placement. Supported businesses will able to use asset finance to access funding to purchase equipment without damaging their working capital. Asset finance works by allowing companies to buy assets, such as machinery or technology and spread the cost over their lifetime.

The growth fund is expected to be more beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-market firms in the manufacturing, construction, agriculture and transport industries, where the requirement of costly assets is common and boosting productivity is a priority.

Launching the fund, Ben Stephenson, managing director SME at Lloyds Bank Global Transaction Banking, said:

“The pace of technological change is constantly challenging important UK sectors to invest in growth to remain competitive. But businesses need to be able to achieve this without damaging their access to working capital.

“This fund will enable more and more businesses to benefit from the flexibility of asset finance, which can be used to support firms’ needs throughout the economic cycle, whether that’s investing in growth or boosting efficiency.”

Connecting Cambridgeshire Broadband Business Survey

Cambridgeshire businesses urged to help identify gaps in superfast coverage

Businesses in Cambridgeshire are being urged to fill in short survey about their broadband connectivity in a bid to identify remaining gaps in superfast coverage, particularly in rural areas.

The online survey is being carried out by the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, which has already rolledout superfast broadband to thousands of homes and businesses that would not be able to get it otherwise.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has previously helped almost 2000 businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to get connected, buy the latest technology, gain vital digital skills and create jobs, through several Government and European Union funded grant schemes, which have now closed.

Feedback from the survey will be used to support bids for future funding to help more businesses benefit from fast and reliable internet connectivity.

Councillor Ian Bates, Chair of the County Economy and Environment Committee that oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: “Superfast broadband is essential to the economic growth of Cambridgeshire because it means our businesses can thrive and compete in an increasingly digital world.

“We know that there are still some gaps in superfast broadband coverage for businesses, especially in rural areas, and the results of this survey will help to show where further work is needed to ensure they get future proof connectivity.”

Businesses are urged to complete the survey by 16 October at or call 01223 703293 to be sent a questionnaire

Website text:

Business broadband survey to identify gaps in superfast coverage 

Businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being urged to complete a short survey about their broadband connectivity to help Connecting Cambridgeshire identify gaps in superfast coverage, particularly in rural areas.

It only takes a few minutes to complete the survey online on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website or call 01223 703293 to be sent a questionnaire.

Feedback from the survey will be used to support bids for future funding to help more businesses benefit from fast and reliable internet connectivity.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has already rolled out superfast broadband to over 117,00 premises and has previously helped almost 2000 businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to get connected, buy the latest technology, gain vital digital skills and create jobs, through several Government and European Union funded grant schemes.

Funding Opportunity for Medium Size Businesses Announced.

Latest news

16/06/2017 – HSBC Announces £10 Billion UK SME Fund

A £10 billion loan fund is open for HSBC customers in 2017.

HSBC UK Bank has announced a £10 billion lending fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. The programme forms part of a broader commitment by the bank to help businesses realise their growth ambitions.

The Fund is UK-wide, enabling SMEs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to access the financial support they require.

One of the main focus areas of this year’s fund is to encourage small firms to explore opportunities for exporting. HSBC research into 1,000 UK SMEs shows that companies are prepared to consider the opportunities of international trade but may be cautious of perceived barriers.

With a geographic network covering more than 90% of global trade, HSBC believes it can help businesses to navigate the available markets and overcome obstacles to growth.

HSBC approved 91% of small business lending applications in the last year. Launching the new fund, Ian Stuart, UK CEO, HSBC said:

“The launch of this £10 billion fund reaffirms our commitment to support the growth of UK SMEs of all sizes, from start-ups to established businesses. The UK is home to a diverse range of SMEs across established and emerging sectors, operating in their regional markets or looking to trade internationally. We want to put SMEs in a stronger position to make investments that will stimulate local economies and create more jobs.”

External Link