27 November 2020
I have been disappointed to read in the media recent comments on funding for Scottish farming. I want to reassure you that claims that £170 million will be cut from Scottish farming support are simply incorrect and that Scotland’s farmers will have far greater security in this coming year than they would have had inside the EU.
Here are the facts. In 2019, the UK Government made a commitment to match the current annual budget to farmers in every year of this Parliament. In 2019, Scotland’s farming community received almost £595 million in total farm support. In 2021/22, Scotland will receive a little over £24 million in outstanding EU funds, and just over £570 million in new Exchequer funding, totalling almost £595 million.
In 2021/22, the UK Government has also been able to increase Scotland’s block grant by £2.4 billion in real terms, which the Scottish Government can use to benefit farmers and farming communities. We promised that no farmer would be out of pocket – we have delivered on that promise, and will continue to deliver for every year of this Parliament.
The EU is in fact taking a very different direction on funding the Common Agricultural Policy. CAP funding is likely to be cut by around 10% for the coming funding period. For Scotland, this would have amounted to an annual loss of almost £60 million. Within the EU, Scotland and the rest of the UK had too little say in how farming payments were distributed to our farmers. Farmers, consumers and taxpayers will benefit from closing the door on the CAP.
Being outside the EU not only gives our farmers a guarantee that their funding will be maintained, but also means we can develop specific policies which are suitable for Scottish and UK farmers. This will allow the UK to innovate and to incentivise sustainable practices to support our ambitious, world-leading 25 Year Environment Plan.
We are working constructively with the Scottish Government as they lead on developing new ways of funding farming, to ensure that, throughout these trying times, Scottish farmers can continue to produce the world leading food and drink that is so coveted.
The UK Government has frequent, constructive and highly valued discussions with both NFUS and the Scottish Government, and we look forward to more of the same. We have a wonderful opportunity in the coming months and Scotland’s produce and farmers will be at the forefront of the UK’s new start.
As this is a matter of general interest, I am releasing this letter to the media.
DAVID DUGUID MP PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SCOTLAND