Union Calls for Fair Cap Deal as Deadlines Loom

Brief to Secretary of State copied to New Ministerial Appointees

As the deadline for crucial UK decisions on CAP loom, NFU Scotland has written to Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson reiterating its belief that Westminster decisions on coupling and convergence are crucial to the well being of Scottish agriculture

The Union met briefly with Mr Paterson last Thursday (3 October) in Aberdeen.

The Ministerial reshuffle on Monday (7 November), which saw Michael Moore and David Heath lose their positions as Secretary of State for Scotland and Defra Farming Minister respectively has prompted the Union to send a copy of its latest briefing to their replacements – Alistair Carmichael and George Eustice.

NFU Scotland President, Nigel Miller said:

“Westminster’s work on delivering the new CAP is still incomplete and decisions yet to be made will have a fundamental part to play in how new rules will impact on Scottish agriculture. There are two key areas where the UK Government and Mr Paterson, as Secretary of State, have a pivotal role.

“The UK has the power to define the baseline on which the level of coupling that may be available to Scottish livestock farmers will be determined.  We believe the ability to couple an element of our support payment to the vulnerable beef or hill sheep sectors could be a useful tool to helping us deal with a low budget and the extremes of farming intensity that exist across Scotland.

“In a meeting with Commissioner Ciolos and his officials, it was made clear to us that it is the UK Government that will set the budget baseline, within the UK budget ceiling, through which the 8 percent calculation would determine the funding available for coupled support in Scotland.   Without altering Scotland’s share of the overall budget, having that 8 percent figure available for coupling based on a UK ceiling rather than a Scottish ceiling, gives greater scope and flexibility to Scotland’s coupling options.

“On convergence of Single Farm Payment rates, it is within Westminster’s gift to determine whether farmers working in comparable systems across the whole of the UK receive similar levels of support.  European convergence policy provides a lifeline that may allow similar grades of land sustaining similar farming activities to gain similar or equal support throughout Europe and move Scotland on from its current level of disadvantage.

“The UK must decide if it is to follow Europe’s clear steer on budget convergence and put in place a process that will eventually see arable producers in Berwickshire receive the same level of support as those in Norfolk or hill farmers in the Highlands get equivalent support to those farming in the Lake District.

“A proactive approach from Westminster can help manage the change to area payments which will see Scottish farmers work with support levels per hectare in 2015 that are well below those likely to be received by the rest of the UK and much of Europe.  The UK has the power to determine convergence policy within these islands and with it the regional budgets.

“These two policy levers, if used positively, can counter competitive disadvantage and support activity in Scotland.  These two levers can also bring the support of UK agriculture closer to parity.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 119/13

< Article List


Report Abusive Comment

Comment Content:

Why it offends me (optional):

Have Your Say

No-one has commented on this article yet. Be the first to have your say...

New Comment


Total Pages:
Total Results:
Page Start:
Page Result #:

Quick Contact

Which Region do you live in?  
Are you a member of NFU Scotland?  

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.

Registred Address

NFU Scotland
Head Office
Rural Centre - West Mains
Ingliston, Midlothian
EH28 8LT

Place of registration: Scotland

Company Registration Number: SC214564

Tel: 0131 472 4000

NFU Mutual Logo

Get the App

NFUS App QR Code

©NFU Scotland • All Rights Reserved • Web design by Big Red DigitalLog in


Contact Us




No Robots:

This form collects and sends the information supplied to NFU Scotland. You can read our privacy policy for full details on how we protect and manage your data.
  I consent to having NFU Scotland collect the above details.