The British Retail Consortium has attacked the latest proposals for reforming Europe's Common Agricultural Policy.

BRC director of food policy Richard Ali said the draft reforms’ failure to do enough to support UK farmers would hit retailers and consumers.

“Retailers are worried that the way proposals are structured will result in a major transfer of resources from UK agriculture to countries with less efficient farming structures.

“Any proposal that places the UK at a disadvantage to its European competitors has the potential to hurt the British food chain and the customer.”

The revised reforms maintain the idea of "decoupling" the link between farm subsidies and production levels, with funds progressively transferred to bonuses for farmers developing land.

National Farmers’ Union president Ben Gill said he accepts the need to shift the focus of the CAP from production-based support to payments that are less market distorting.

Deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, Martin Paterson, welcomed the proposals: "The FDF still sees these proposals as a clear and positive step to a more market oriented CAP, encouraging a viable support base for the UK food and drink manufacturing industry."

Proposals also include a cut in subsidies for milk production and an increase in milk quotas for designated EU member states by 1% annually in 2007 and 2008.