Boris Johnson announces further £51.4M for Scottish farmers
A FURTHER £51.4 million for Scottish farmers has been welcomed by Moray MP Douglas Ross.
He wants to see Moray farmers share in the windfall from the UK Government.
Mr Ross, speaking after a visit by Prime Minister Borish Johnson to a farm in Aberdeenshire on Friday, said: “This additional money comes on top of the £160m announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday and represents the largest funding uplift for Scotland’s farmers in many years and demonstrates the Scottish Conservative’s commitment to our farming sector.
“The £211.4m package fully delivers on the recommendations of the independent review by Lord Bew, making sure that farm support under the Common Agricultural Policy is fairly distributed across the UK. I hope that the Scottish Government will move swiftly to ensure that this money from the UK Government is allocated to farmers in Moray and the rest of Scotland as quickly as possible."
Mr Ross claimed that concerted pressure from Scotland’s Conservative MPs had helped achieve this result.
"Coming from a farming background, I know how important this funding will be and shows that we are standing up for Moray and Scottish farmers and delivering results with the UK government.”
NFU Scotland President, Andrew McCornick, added: “Taken together, the two announcements will inject £211m into Scottish agriculture over the next two years. At a time of uncertainty, that represents the largest funding uplift for the sector in recent memory.”
Mr McCornick, vice-president Charlie Adam and chief executive Scott Walker met with the Prime Minister.
The terms of the Bew review were to ensure that funding for domestic farm support is fairly allocated across the UK between 2020 and 2022. Agreement to carry out a review followed a six-year campaign by NFUS for the convergence funding injustice to be addressed.
The long-standing view of NFU Scotland is that it was exclusively as a result of Scotland’s low CAP support payment rate per hectare that the UK was awarded the convergence uplift of £190 million in 2013 as part of the European reforms of the CAP.
The UK Government chose to share this dividend across the whole of the UK based on historic allocations, seeing only £30 million awarded to Scotland, a decision that the union believed was deeply flawed.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that, in accepting the recommendations of the Bew Review, Scottish farmers will receive an extra £51.4m over the next two years, in addition to the £160m allocated in the Chancellor’s Spending Round.
NFU Scotland understands that the funding will come to Scotland in the next financial year which commences in April 2020.NFU Scotland’s board will discuss the funding announcement at its forthcoming September meeting.
Aside from Bew, the meeting also gave the union a platform to discuss Brexit-led tariff and trade deal concerns with the Prime Minister.
Speaking after meeting the PM, Mr McCornick said: “On top of the Chancellor’s welcome announcement in his spending review that Scotland is to receive £160 million in convergence funding, we welcome the positive outcome of the Bew Review into future funding allocations and Government’s speedy response to the review’s recommendations.
“Securing a fair agricultural funding settlement that recognised the flaws in the historic approach has been a priority for NFU Scotland for six years.We thank Lord Bew for undertaking this review and his conclusions on how agricultural funding should be allocated.
"We also thank former NFUS President Jim Walker for the tenacity he showed as the Scottish representative on the Bew review group, and the significant contribution he has made to ensuring future agricultural spending fairly represents the convergence settlement.
“Settling the issue around convergence comes at a time when we are weathering a political storm and many sectors of Scottish farming and crofting are enduring significant price and cost pressure. We want our industry to come out the other side of the current turmoil and this huge uplift in funding will help us build greater resilience into our farming and food sectors.”
NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker, who also met with the Prime Minister, said: “Central to our future fortunes are our trading arrangements.As the UK sets out to strike its own trade deals, we pressed the case for these to respect the high production standards that Scottish farmers are asked to meet.
“It would be unacceptable for us domestically to produce to higher standards and then allow lower standard products into the UK.We have the ambition to double the size of the farming, food and drink industry in Scotland to £30 billion.We want to be able to export but we must ensure that products coming into the UK are equal to the standards to which we produce.
“We also raised our concern about the UK proposed tariff schedule.We should not be unilaterally cutting tariffs on some imported products as this will take away one of our key negotiation levers and place our farmers at a severe disadvantage.
“If the EU insists on imposing tariffs on Scottish farm products, then we should be doing the same in return.We have demanded that the UK reconsider its proposed tariff schedule.”