The current and prospective direct public expenditures on agricultural support are set against estimates of the costs of alternative ways of providing the outcomes (economic, environmental and social) generated by instruments proposed for the Common Agricultural Policy for the period 2014-20. Central in the discussion are the objectives that the CAP is attempting to achieve and the identification of the net impacts that it has currently. Ways of making estimates of generating the outcomes and their determining factors are considered. A conclusion is that a large potential exists for reducing public spending or of diverting it from the CAP to other policy areas. How this might be achieved in the face of rent-protection, organisational self-interest and national politics are outlined.