Farming Insights – Post Brexit Funding

Farm funding

Jean Arnott-Glennie, our Farming and Estates Account Executive was recently invited to a seminar hosted by Shepherd & Wedderburn Solicitors where Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity, Fergus Ewing SNP MSP was the keynote speaker.

The discussion began with a reminder as to why the Common Agricultural Policy was originally set up under the Treaty of Rome 1957.

**The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy were stated as:

  • To increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour
  • To ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture
  • To stabilise markets
  • To assure the availability of supplies
  • To ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

*** Michael Gove MP recently agreed that the current level of support to Agricultural Industry should be maintained until 2020.  He also suggested that the Agricultural Industry should only receive support payments if they agreed to protect the environment and enhance rural life; and that farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out in future.

The move is part of what he referred to as his vision for a “green Brexit”. Mr Gove described Brexit as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet”.

This demonstrates a clear move away from food production and food security being at the top of the agenda. The suggestion being that more environmentally friendly activities should not just be rewarded but required, in order for future support being provided by the various government bodies.

Mr Ewing continued the discussion with looking at the steps that the Scottish Government had introduced since his tenure began including:

  • Retaining BSE free status for Scotland
  • Introducing 1st phase of the Beef Efficiency scheme
  • Women in Agriculture Conference
  • £10m Funding to Scotland Food & Drink Industry
  • £20m Funding to SRUC for advice services to the Agricultural community

He commented further that the Scottish Governments objective, put simply, was to drive forward Rural Development whilst protecting Environmental Concerns.

Also discussed during the seminar was the current split of EU funding within the UK home countries and the Scottish Government’s plans for this for the future.

An interesting Q&A session touched on food security in Scotland; Seasonal Labour supply post -Brexit; Devolved powers to Holyrood; The CAP IT system; How Support would be defined in the future and Penalties for infringements.

As is always the case when processes and systems are in the evolutionary stage, there were more questions than answers.  The future discussions between The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the UK Government Environment Secretary will make for interesting reading and many further debates.

For further information please contact Jean Arnott-Glennie on 07881 093485 or  email [email protected]

Sources:

** https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenvfru/671/67105.htm

*** http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40673559