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Union in Westminster for Crucial Frameworks Debate

NFU Scotland representatives returned to Westminster on Thursday 1 February for an important parliamentary debate on future agricultural policy frameworks post-Brexit.

The Westminster Hall debate, led by Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael after continuous talks with NFU Scotland, focused on the operation of policy frameworks in the UK and the devolved nations once the UK leaves the EU and therefore the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Briefing MPs ahead of the debate on Thursday, Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper and Director of Policy Jonnie Hall outlined that commonly agreed regulatory regimes in the UK will be essential to maintain the effective functioning of the UK single market and the negotiation of beneficial future trade deals with the EU and other partners. Issues identified by the Union as areas best-suited to be managed on a commonly agreed ‘framework’ basis are animal welfare and traceability, public health, pesticides regulation and food labelling.

Thereafter, NFU Scotland is clear that the objectives and mechanisms of support for agriculture must be both developed and delivered entirely on a devolved basis - a principle which the Union was pleased that all parties speaking in today’s debate, from across the Chamber, supported.

Speaking after Thursday’s debate, Director of Policy and Member Services Jonnie Hall said: “Agricultural and rural development policy, and its delivery, already diverge across the UK, yet all under the regulatory framework of the CAP. In essence, UK agriculture policy operates on different playing fields, but we all play by the same rules of the game.

“There is no reason why this should change after we leave the EU. In Scotland, for example, it will remain essential in the medium to long term to target funding to less favoured areas, and for flexibility for coupled support to be retained. This is vital for socio-economically important sectors across rural Scotland. In other regions of the UK, there will be different areas of emphasis.

“Speaking during the debate, the UK Government’s Defra Minister George Eustice suggested that maximum flexibility for the devolved administrations will form an important part of the UK Government’s upcoming Agriculture Bill. Mr Eustice also outlined that the UK Government is keen to continue the engagement and involvement of NFU Scotland as it formulates the Command Paper which will be published in late spring, and which will inform the future legislation. This is significant, and it justifies NFU Scotland’s continued presence in Westminster, which has massively ramped up in the last 12 months.

“We will continue to work with all politicians and policy-makers to secure the best future for Scottish agriculture.”

Notes to Editor

  • A picture of Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper, Vice President Gary Mitchell, and Director of Policy and Member Services Jonnie Hall at Westminster is available by request from media@nfus.org.uk

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 16/18


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