Union makes the case for Scotland's farming future

NFU Scotland responds to UK Government ‘Health and Harmony’ consultation


Wed, 09 May 2018


NFU Scotland

NFU Scotland has made the case for a profitable and vibrant future for Scotland’s farmers and crofters when responding to the UK Government’s consultation: ‘Health and Harmony: The Future for Food, Farming and the Environment in a Green Brexit’.

While the Health and Harmony consultation document sets out future proposals for England, NFU Scotland is developing its own thinking for a future agricultural policy for Scotland, which it continues to discuss in detail with both the Scottish Government and Westminster.

NFU Scotland shares the view that Brexit provides an opportunity to move out of the shadow of the CAP and states that it is vital that future agricultural policy must be developed and implemented in line with the distinctly different needs of Scotland.

While most of the consultation is England-only; there are elements of the consultation which are of particular interest to Scotland.  These are the future frameworks needed to facilitate intra-UK trade and future funding levels for Scottish farming.

NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy, Jonnie Hall said: “It is vital that the unique needs of the Scottish agricultural industry are recognised in the development of a new agricultural policy framework.  

“The current devolution settlement of policy and regulation to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom should be respected and maintained.  That said, the UK’s various Governments, Parliaments and regulators should jointly take every step to retain and protect a single market access for food, agricultural commodities, live animals and plant and plant products throughout the UK.

“The task of establishing commonly agreed UK frameworks is hugely important to preserve the integrity of the internal UK market.  These frameworks must be arrived at by mutual agreement between the UK Government and the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government.

“The frameworks to be covered, in whole or in part for 24 key policy areas, includes pesticides, organic farming, fertilisers, animal health and traceability, food and feed safety, and food labelling.  With the Brexit clock ticking down, progress in these areas must be made soon.

“And a clear statement on finance and future funding levels for agriculture and rural development in Scotland must be made.  Year on year, agricultural support consistently accounts for around two-thirds of the Total Income From Farming (TIFF) in Scotland.  And for many farms and crofts in more disadvantaged areas, the reliance on support is significantly greater.

“NFU Scotland welcomes the UK Government’s commitment to provide the same cash total in funds for farm support, as is currently paid out under the CAP, until 2022 or the lifetime of the parliament. However, questions do remain on how this money will be delivered to Scotland after ‘EU exit day’ in 2019.  In the longer term, with the development of new domestic agricultural policy, at least the same level of public investment in Scottish agriculture must be retained. This budget must be ring-fenced to agriculture and rural support.  

“Moving out of the shadow of the CAP, NFU Scotland’s proposals set out a bold approach to policy which, through a managed transition, will ensure that valuable support helps to make Scottish agriculture more productive, innovative and, above all, profitable, whilst delivering the wide range of public benefits that are increasingly expected of Scotland’s farmers and crofters.”  


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