RISHI SUNAK'S July statement was far from what he would have hoped to deliver when he became Chancellor.

It was a brave effort to head off an inevitable recession. Anything the government does is about making this less severe, since with a daily avalanche of job losses stopping it is impossible. A boost for youth training and jobs is a good idea, but less certain is the belief that house sales can somehow fuel a consumer spending boom.

The Chancellor has few levers to manipulate an economy over-dependent on the service and retail sectors. At the risk of repeating the criticism levelled at Boris Johnson's recovery plan, this latest initiative again ignores industries, like farming and food, that could deliver employment dividends more quickly.

Another reality is that this new public spending generosity, now measured in billions, will eventually have to be repaid. That will be a long time happening, and like the bath with the tap running when the plug is out, this could work as long as interest rates remain historically low. That does not disguise a fiscally unwelcome and risky strategy that will burden future generations with debt.

That this is global problem does not make it any better. That means the markets into which we need to sell will be weak for the foreseeable future. Despite some progress in the Brexit talks this week, recession is not the backdrop any politician would have wanted for cutting the apron strings with Europe to go it alone in a now even more uncertain world.

While the government says it will not demand a return to austerity, public spending budgets and plans will be under scrutiny. Now is not the time the farming industry would have chosen to be going to the Treasury to seek support funding, but that is the hand it has been dealt. The CAP, for all its faults, was at least a guarantee of funding. Now that is at the political whim of Westminster and powerless Farming and Food Commission is not a trump card for the farming lobby.

The Treasury will doubtless argue that with budgets tight there is no need to be generous to agriculture or to maintain the link to the CAP budget. It will claim UK agriculture is efficient and productive, which it is, and therefore in less need of support. That might be the case and indeed it is what was promised before the 2016 EU referendum. But efficiency, productivity and market focus will all be strangled by the green tape the government in London plans to wrap around the industry.

How free Scotland will be to escape that only time will tell. Those in power at Westminster must not lose sight of the reality that farming subsidies are global and not just something practised by the EU. These are arguments farming will need to have at the ready, to underline that subsidy free New Zealand is an exception rather than the norm.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which represents the world's developed economies, is a long time critic of farm subsidies. It records these annually but the figures have changed little. There has been little response to its call for these to be reduced, on grounds that they distort trade and widen the gap between large and small farmers. Now with the latest figures OECD is suggesting post-coronavirus economic pressure will make subsidising agriculture unaffordable.

Between 2017 and 2019 governments spent £430 billion a year on direct farm support. Add in other factors, such as supporting research, and the figure rises to £560 billion. This means one pound in nine of global farm incomes came from subsidies.

Using a standardised measure, Producer Support Estimate or PSE, linking subsidy to farm income, the EU remains top of the league with a PSE of 19, with the US at 12. For some rich countries, like Norway and Japan, the price paid for maintaining a rural economy is a PSE above 40. Subsidies are affordable when linked to a country's GDP, or total economic activity. However recession will see GDPs fall, but farming support will not unless governments decide to cut it.

Farm support was originally about food security, and for some countries that is still the case. However in the EU and UK that is being replaced with environmental delivery. While desirable, that is less emotive than food security after a pandemic and easier to cut in an enforced new age of subtle austerity.