Union Seeks Reassurances on Brexit Funding and Resources

NFU Scotland has written to Scottish Government seeking reassurance that the appropriate levels of staffing and financial resource are being committed to ensure that it is ready to take on the obligations that will arise after Brexit.  

The Union believes that securing a prosperous and vibrant future for farmers and crofters post-Brexit will depend upon the Scottish Government having the capacity to deliver and implement a new Scottish agricultural policy.

In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution, Derek Mackay, the Union recognises the significant challenge that Brexit readiness will present to the Scottish Government but expresses its firm view that the Scottish Government’s preparedness for the challenges ahead is becoming increasingly vital.

NFU Scotland understands that, since the EU referendum in 2016, Defra has filled some 650 vacancies across the Defra Group, with a further 550 staff to be appointed to meet the additional requirements of EU exit. The National Audit Office has also highlighted that Defra agreed spending of £94.4 million with HM Treasury to fund its EU exit programme in 2017-18, with further funding expected following the commitment from the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Autumn Statement that £3bn would be earmarked for Brexit preparations.

In the same letter to the Cabinet Secretary, the Union has repeated its offer to work with Scottish Government in jointly making the case to HM Treasury to ensure Scottish farmers and crofters get a fair financial agreement that can be ring fenced for agriculture and rural development in the short-to-medium term after EU exit.  
In the letter, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick states: “Scotland’s farmers and crofters are seeking reassurances over Scotland’s internal capacity to ensure we are as ready as we can be for our impending exit from the CAP.  

“I sympathise with the significant challenge that Brexit readiness will present but my firm view is that the Scottish Government’s preparedness for the challenges ahead is increasingly vital.

“The Brexit clock is ticking, and we understand that so far £6.6 million has been allocated from the UK Government to the Scottish Government to prepare for Brexit.  With farming being the sector most affected by the change, extra money is required to ensure the Agriculture and Rural Economy Department have the necessary resources to cope with the additional requirements of EU exit and can tackle the sizeable task ahead.

“We all want to secure the best Brexit deal for Scotland, so I am keen to learn what additional resources Scottish Government will invest in the Scottish rural and environmental portfolios to build a new Scottish agricultural policy while also ensuring we have the necessary expertise on the many issues that will arise from the implementation of any new trade and export policy after EU exit.

“Future funding levels for agriculture post-Brexit are a matter that NFU Scotland continues to press with HM Treasury and DEFRA. As recently as 2 May, I met with HM Treasury officials on this important issue.

“I would be pleased to work with the Cabinet Secretary and his officials to deliver a co-ordinated message to UK Government on finding a fair financial settlement after Brexit – not least in light of the frustrating delay to the review of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) convergence and budget allocations that emerged last Friday.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 68/18

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