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Political Pressure Mounts for Fairer CAP Deal

Union meets politicians in Westminster on convergence

A high level delegation from NFU Scotland has been meeting politicians from all parties and both Houses at Westminster today (19 November) following Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson’s disappointing announcement on CAP budget allocation.

The group included both NFUS Vice Presidents, Allan Bowie and Rob Livesey, and they were accompanied by the Union’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall.

Under new CAP arrangements starting in 2015, Scottish farmers are likely to receive support levels per hectare that are well below those in the rest of the UK and much of Europe.  However, Europe has mapped out a convergence timetable that asks Member States to bring all payments closer to a target of €196 per hectare (ha) by 2019.  In Scotland, that figure is currently around €130 per ha.  

As part of the CAP deal, the UK received additional money to deliver convergence.  NFU Scotland believed that the recent CAP budget allocation announcement by Owen Paterson presented an opportunity to start that process.  Instead, the convergence uplift received by the UK was shared between the regions on a historic basis, leaving Scotland’s share at 16 percent. The remaining 84 percent will go to England, Wales and Northern Ireland where average payment rates per hectare are already €265, €247 and €339 per ha respectively.

The Union has a written commitment from Secretary of State Owen Paterson that there will be a review of internal allocation of CAP funds in 2016, to be concluded in 2017. NFUS believes that review must be robust, independent and must initiate changes in budget allocation from 2017 onwards.

Speaking from Westminster, Vice President Allan Bowie said:
“A key aspect of the recent reforms of the CAP is a more equitable distribution of direct support between both Member States and regions.  Owen Paterson’s decision not to use the new money that the UK received to deliver Europe’s vision for convergence was an opportunity missed and a decision that leaves Scottish farmers at a serious disadvantage.

“The concept that area payments on similar land classes should be subject to similar area support, regardless of the location, fits with natural justice and that must be the foundation of a common policy across Europe. Hill farmers in the Highlands should receive similar payment rates per ha to those in the Lake District and arable producers in Berwickshire should have equitable rates to those farming similar ground in Norfolk.  Owen Paterson’s decision on the budget allocations within the UK goes against this principle.

Vice President Rob Livesey added:
“The decision to channel convergence funds into devolved regions of the UK on the basis of historical budgets fails to recognise Europe’s convergence criteria and fails to immediately tackle the competitive disadvantage faced by Scottish producers.   

“The need to introduce convergence measures within the UK has been recognised and formalised by the proposed review process to start in 2016. That recognition must be followed by action. The process must be robust.  It must be made transparent, have an independent review group to determine budget allocations and have a fixed end date for when the transition will be completed.

“We estimate that the initial convergence allocation to Scotland in 2015 would have been worth €11million and could rise to €60million by 2019.  We have also used today to lay down a marker with politicians, stating that until the review is complete, there should be an advanced budget transfer of €11 million to Scotland to provide a stable platform for our producers. This is equivalent to the new convergence money the UK government will receive in 2015.”  

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland was in Westminster today (Tuesday, 19 November 2013) meeting with MPs and Lords representing all political parties. 
  • NFUS is encouraging members to contact their MPs about this CAP budget decision.  Click here to view the short briefing – Scotland’s Case for a Fairer CAP Budget - for members to use when contacting their politicians.

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 144/13


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