Legislation which allows the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be simplified and improved post-Brexit passed Stage 1 this week, following a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill creates powers to enable Scottish Ministers to ensure CAP schemes can continue beyond this year and also modify retained EU Law in relation to them.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said:
“The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of COVID-19 show how important it is to give our farmers and crofters financial stability in the next few years. We also need powers to simplify or improve current CAP schemes to tailor them to our unique needs.
“This legislation sets out to do just that by creating new powers to enable us to modify elements of retained EU law. It will also update the legal basis for collecting information about the agri-food supply chain and activities related to agriculture.
“As outlined in our 2018 Stability and Simplicity proposals, we are introducing a transition period until 2024, where we will seek measures to streamline, simplify and free up resources to pilot and test activities likely to feature in a future farming and rural support policy beyond 2024.
“This Bill puts in place the legal framework to allow that work to be taken forward. It is largely about process, rather than policy and it is vital the Scottish Parliament comes together to agree it so that we have these powers in place for 2021. I am pleased that parliament has given its support at Stage 1.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“These are uncertain times for our farmers and I was pleased to vote in favour of the Bill, to help progress this important legislation, laying the groundwork for security when it comes to future payments.
“Right now, we are all trying to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, but Brexit is still happening in the background, whether we like it or not. However, we have a duty to ensure the best outcome for farmers in North Ayrshire and across Scotland in the long term.
“Incidentally, let me take this opportunity to remind farmers, crofters and land managers to submit their 2020 Single Application Form now before the deadline of midnight, Friday 15 May. This can be done via:
The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill does not set out the future direction of Scottish rural support policy, or completely reform existing policy. This work is being undertaken by the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group .
Stability and Simplicity was published in June 2018 outlining proposals for a five year transition period for farming and rural support in the event of Brexit.