Post Brexit farm funding to be reviewed

editorial image

An independent review into agricultural funding post-Brexit has been announced by the UK Government and Scottish politicians are fighting the country’s corner.

Secretary of State for Environment, Michael Gove, announced the review, led by Lord Bew, into how agriculture funding will be distributed in the UK after we leave the EU and confirmed that future arrangements will not simply apply the Barnett formula to agriculture funding.

South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth pointed out: “At present 17 per cent of the UK’s CAP funding comes to Scotland, even though we have less than 10% of the population. The reasons for this are the clear geographical and land quality challenges Scotland’s farmers face compared to other parts of the UK.

“Any cut in this percentage would be unacceptable.”

He also challenged the UK Government over their distribution of EU convergence uplift payments, arguing that the UK only qualified for such payments due to the nature of Scottish farming.

“It is time the UK Government paid up the £160 million they owe Scotland’s farmers for the EU convergence uplift payments. It is deeply disappointing that this review will not address the fact that Scottish farmers have lost out on millions of pounds of funding since 2014 due to the unfair decisions made by the UK Government.”

Welcoming news of the review Borders Conservative MP John Lamont said: “Farmers in the Borders should be reassured by this further guarantee from the UK Government.

“The overall amount of support given to farmers will continue until 2022, which is later than if we were staying in the EU. Now the UK Government has confirmed that the current arrangement, which sees Scottish farmers receiving far more than their population share of funding, will also continue.

“Thanks to the intervention of me and Scottish Conservative colleagues, the UK Government agreed to look at it again and see if there is a better way to allocate this money within the UK.

“It is clear that Scotland has in the past done very well out of the allocation of EU funding. Already Scottish farmers receive twice as much money as they would if the usual funding rules were applied. And in the last allocation of EU Structural Funds, used for things like job creation and connectivity, Scotland received €228 million more than they would have if the EU’s funding formula was applied.”