Lord Bew’s agriculture funding review
6 Sep 2019 11:36 AM
€60 million payout for Scots farmers recommended.
Scotland’s farmers should be allocated an extra €60 million over the next two years – a hike of 47%, according to an independent review panel.
Lord Bew issued the recommendation after finding agriculture funding in the UK was based on unfair historic values and did not reflect Scotland’s unique circumstances.
In addition to calling for an increase in the CAP convergence funding share, he also highlighted the importance of continued support to the industry and its capacity to deliver sustainable food production and environmental public goods.
Welcoming the recommendations, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“For five years, we have resolutely been arguing for the rights of Scotland’s farmers, cajoling and urging the UK Government to rectify this historic injustice, which has seen Scottish farmers miss out on up to £160 million of financial support over the last six years.
“And while it is important that the past monies are now being repatriated, we also needed to stop the unfairness continuing into the future. I therefore welcome the findings of Lord Bew and his review panel, which call on the UK Government to increase future funding by up to €60 million over two years as a result.
“We now need the UK Government to accept the findings in full and to move swiftly to delivering to Scotland all the funding that we are entitled to. With agriculture being fully devolved, I expect the UK Government to return this money to Scotland as soon as possible and without any strings attached. I am clear, that should we receive what has now been recommended, that it is only right and proper, given its origins, that this €60 million be ring-fenced in Scotland for agriculture.
“I know how much time and effort Lord Bew, and Jim Walker, Scotland’s representative on the panel, gave to this work and want to thank them for their diligence and for listening to Scotland’s case.”
Lord Bew’s review report.
Under the last CAP reform, the EU set out to redistribute direct payments more equally based on average Euros per hectare. The intention being that so member states receiving less than 90% of the EU average rate per hectare would close the gap by one third by 2019, achieving a minimum rate of at least €196 per hectare.
Importantly, the UK only qualified for such an uplift of £190 million because of Scotland’s extremely low average rate per hectare. Without Scotland, the UK would not have qualified or received an extra £190 million from Europe.
The UK Government distributed the funding across the UK, with Scotland only receiving £30 million, below what was due.
In 2018, the Scottish Government, with cross-party and stakeholder support, successfully campaigned for the UK Government to hold a review into CAP convergence funding. However, the remit was limited by the UK Government to look only at future intra-UK funding allocations – a position the Scottish Government disagreed with.