Union Presents Convergence Proposal to Scottish Government

NFU Scotland has today (1 October) published a policy position on the allocation of the UK Government’s promised uplift of £160 million in a paper shared with members, stakeholders and Scottish Government.

On 4 September, the Chancellor confirmed the Prime Minister’s commitment of £160 million for Scottish agriculture in lieu of Pillar 1 CAP convergence funding that Scotland did not receive. This uplift has been hard fought for since the funding decision was taken by UK Government in 2013.

In light of difficult market conditions across all agricultural sectors and unprecedented Brexit-led uncertainty, NFU Scotland is asking the UK Government for this money to be delivered to the Scottish Government as soon as possible.

It is the position of NFU Scotland, set out in today’s position paper, that the additional funding makes good what Scotland should have received as part of its Pillar 1 budget from 2015.

This injection of funding is significant, and the Union believes it must be used in the most balanced and deliverable manner to be most effective at this time. NFU Scotland is also clear that the allocation of the £160 million should take into account existing policy decisions, fairness and delivery - and be targeted solely to currently active farmers and crofters.

NFU Scotland’s policy position was unanimously agreed by its Board of Directors last week, a group that reflects the profile and interests of the Union’s membership and regions, and therefore all sectors of Scottish agriculture.

Given the very real challenges threatening the viability of farms and crofts across Scotland, the Union believes the additional funding must be exclusively retained as direct support and not be used to support Pillar 2 schemes such as Less Favoured Areas Support.

The £160 million is a one-off uplift and is entirely separate to the outcome of the Bew Review into intra-UK allocation of agricultural funding which will see additional funding of £51.4 come to Scotland, split between 2021 and 2022.

President Andrew McCornick said: “This is £160 million that was hard fought for over many years and is a real positive at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and a difficult market situation across all sectors.

“It will provide Scottish Agriculture PLC with a significant injection of funding and must be used in the most balanced and deliverable manner to be most effective at this time.

“Following a meeting last week, the Board of Directors at NFU Scotland – a group that reflects all regions and all agricultural sectors in Scotland – has unanimously developed a proposal which we are sharing with our members and Scottish Government today.

“We believe that any new Pillar 1 funding must mean Pillar 1 delivery.  Given the very real challenges facing the viability of farms and crofts across Scotland, the additional funding must be exclusively retained as direct support and delivered on a sector-neutral basis through existing Scottish schemes to have effective and desired impact.

“The additional £160 million funding should essentially be treated as if it had been received as Pillar 1 funding from 2015 and distributed within Pillar 1 to fulfil existing policy decisions through Scotland’s existing direct support schemes.

“None of the £160 million additional Pillar 1 support should be used to address the shortfall in Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) funding in 2019 (or 2020).  LFASS is a Pillar 2 scheme and resolving the LFASS issue should not be reliant on the additional Pillar 1 funding coming to Scotland.”  Ends

Noted for Editors

  • Click on this link for copy of NFU Scotland’s briefing: ‘NFU Scotland’s proposal for the allocation of additional pillar 1 support for Scottish Agriculture’ 
  • In its proposal, the vast majority of the additional £160 million would be allocated on a one-off basis through; top ups to payment rates for three land regions included in Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), including the Greening and Young Farmer Payments (YFP) components; the Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (SSBSS), both Mainland and Islands, and; the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme (SUSSS).
  • NFU Scotland’s proposal is summarised in the following table:

-    Based on SSBSS 2018 claims, Islands suckler calves would receive approximately £195 per calf
-    Based on SSBSS 2018 claims, Mainland suckler calves would receive approximately £130 per calf
-    Based on SUSSS 2018 claims, ewe hoggs would receive approximately £89 per hogg

  • The delivery method utilises existing schemes so that the money can be paid out as quickly as it can. 

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 136/19

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