DEFRA to look again at payments

MP Calum Kerr.
MP Calum Kerr.

Borders MP Calum Kerr has scored his first major victory in parliament - by getting the UK government to review a controversial policy which gives our farmers a raw deal.

Mr Kerr has secured a promise that ministers will look again at payments to Scottish farming communities.

If the government relents following this forthcoming review, it could mean millions of pounds of much-needed support coming to the rural sector both in the Borders and across the country.

The MP, who is the SNP’s lead Westminster spokesperson on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has been a persistent critic of the way the UK Government distributes much needed EU support to Scottish farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In a Commons question, Mr Kerr asked if given the unfairness of this move, the government plans to carry out a review of this so-called convergence uplift.

Minister George Eustace has now replied in writing, committing DEFRA to look again at uplift payments - possibly as early as next year.

Mr Kerr commented: “I welcome the decision that the Tory government is going to look again at this - though they should never have taken the money away from Scotland in the first place.

“Frankly, it’s a scandal this has happened.

“Our farming communities already get a terrible deal from the UK Government, which in failing to negotiate properly with the EU has left them with some of the lowest CAP payments in Europe.

“To then take away additional cash which was earmarked for Scottish farmers and spread it across the whole UK is inexcusable and just adds insult to injury.”