Date lodged: 11 January 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regarding the future of financial support for agriculture might impact on Scotland.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 18 January 2018
In his recent speech at the Oxford Farm Conference, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed what the UK government has already announced, i.e. that they have guaranteed the amount of farming support, in cash terms, will be protected up until the end of the current UK Parliament, and that support for agri-environment agreements entered into before leaving the EU will continue for the length of the agreement. He also confirmed that the UK government anticipates that when the UK formally leaves the EU in March 2019, there will be an agreed transition period of around two years.
He then said that he envisaged the possibility of extending the transition period, during which financial support for agriculture would be broadly similar to the CAP, until 2024. Whilst I would welcome such an extension, and the modicum of certainty that it would bring to businesses as they plan for the future, I am afraid that as yet I have received no funding guarantees beyond the UK government’s existing commitment. Mr Gove also outlined ideas for a future agricultural support framework in England. This only emphasises the importance of maintaining devolved powers in this area, as the challenges faced by those in rural Scotland are different to those faced elsewhere in the UK.