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Convergence Issue Must Be Resolved

Union meets with Lord Bew on allocation of farm funding

In a face-to-face meeting with Lord Bew, chair of the current Review of Intra-UK Allocation of Domestic Farm Funding, NFU Scotland has repeated its position that Scotland’s farm funding shortfall of almost £190 million must be addressed.

NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall met with Lord Bew and his team in London today (20 May) as the Bew Review continues to take evidence on the convergence issue and how the UK Government chose to distribute additional EU farm funding, received in 2013, to devolved administrations.

In the past six years, NFU Scotland has repeatedly called for, and received pledges from successive DEFRA ministers, that the decision would be subject to review.   That process is finally under way.  The Union responded to Lord Bew’s Independent Review in writing in late April and today’s meeting provided the opportunity to reiterate points made in the submission in person.

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 (approx. €130 per hectare) that the UK was awarded the convergence uplift in 2013 as part of the European reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The clear reason why the UK received this dividend was directly linked to Scotland’s below average area payment rates - about 45 per cent of the EU average – and consequently, the UK will receive an extra €223 million (or about £190 million) over the period 2014 to 2020. The UK Government chose to share this dividend across the whole of the UK based on historic allocations, a decision NFUS believes was fundamentally flawed.

Commenting after being briefed on the London meeting, President Andrew McCornick said: “There was never a rational justification for using historic allocations to distribute this uplift.

“The UK was given the uplift because of Scotland’s low payment rate and that should have meant that the money was paid to Scotland’s farmers and crofters.  Now we have an opportunity to correct this long running sore and it needs to be addressed.  We need this wrong righted.

“The outcome of this Review has the potential to set the factors that will determine how agricultural support is awarded across the UK in the future.  Post-Brexit, a UK agricultural budget will be needed.  

“NFU Scotland continues to pursue a clear commitment from the UK Government for a future ring-fenced, multi-annual agricultural budget for Scotland of at least the same quantum as now.  And taking cognisance of the shortfall created by the inappropriate allocation of the previous uplift.”  

Notes to Editors

  • A photograph of Director of Policy Jonnie Hall (left) meeting with Lord Bew, chair of the independent Review of Intra-UK Allocation of Domestic Farm Funding is attached.


Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006


Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 71/19


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