SCOTLAND’S RURAL ECONOMY TO LOSE €2,298 MILLION IN BREXIT POWER GRAB
A think tank headed by Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan has confirmed the Tories’ intentions for a Brexit power grab and claimed that Scottish sheep farmers should not be advantaged by any system replacing the Common agricultural Policy (CAP).
This follows Damian Green MP's admission that the Tories plan to seize control over agriculture in case the Scottish and Welsh Governments use those powers to help farmers.
New Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) figures show that Scotland would lose out on over €2,298 million in subsidies - around £2,000 million - if CAP funding is replaced by UK-wide per capita funding because it has a much higher concentration of farmers and crofters.
Commenting, Patricia Gibson MP said:
“Lord Duncan has shown a complete lack of understanding of the needs of Scotland’s rural economy, where there is a much higher concentration of farmers and crofters.
“On the one hand the Tories say Scotland should use its devolved powers to mitigate Westminster’s welfare cuts, for which resources would have to be redirected from Education, Health etc; while on the other the prospect of the SNP Government using its powers to support our own sheep farmers is somehow wrong.
"The Tories’ are attempting to centralise power in London to the detriment of our rural economy.
“It is clear the Tories cannot be trusted to act in the interests of farmers and crofters in Ayrshire and across Scotland."
Former MEP Ian Duncan is Secretary-General of the New Direction think tank -
The think tank said it should be a matter for Westminster to decide if and when powers devolved under the 1998 settlement should be returned to Scotland.
Areas of competence returned by the EU on exit would need to be reviewed in order to decide whether these should be exercised by Westminster or by the devolved legislatures. For example agriculture outside England is within the devolved powers of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland legislatures but their scope of action is limited because all are required to implement the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, acting not unlike ‘branch offices’ of Brussels.
The EU’s CAP will cease to have effect on exit, but a common UK framework establishing the core principles of agricultural and farm support policy across the UK will be needed. It would not, for example, be acceptable for the Scottish Parliament to give significant subsidies to sheep farmers in Scotland which are not available to sheep farmers in England or Wales so allowing Scottish sheep prices unfairly to undercut other sheep farmers across the whole UK market.
For these reasons a core UK policy is needed to replace the existing EU CAP. Such a policy would not reduce the scope of the powers of the devolved legislatures but would simply replace existing EU powers (although ritual declarations that devolved parliaments’ prerogatives were being usurped might be expected). However, the content of the core UK agricultural policy would no doubt be the subject of negotiation between Westminster and the devolved legislatures and governments. As a net food importing nation, the UK would have a strong interest in replacing protectionist barriers which drive up food costs for consumers above world market price with other forms of farm support…
Calculations from Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe)
1. If Scotland received the same per capita funding as the UK average, the reduction in funding for Scotland would be €2,298,361,973.92
2. If Scotland received the same per capita funding as Wales, the reduction in funding in Scotland would be €60,245,663.63
Finance is allocated over the period from 2014-2020.