Fairer Allocation of CAP funds needed
Alan Reid MP wants to see a fair allocation of CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) funds between the four countries of the UK as soon as possible.
The MP for Argyll and Bute raised the question in the House of Commons on Thursday as to when a review was planned of the reallocation of CAP - Common Agricultural Policy - funds between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
George Eustice MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, told him: "The review of allocations of common agricultural policy funds between UK Administrations will take place during 2016 and 2017.
"DEFRA will first work with the devolved Administrations to decide on the data needed to facilitate a comparison of payments across the UK. I have made it clear that one area that will be examined in the review is a comparison of land types and payment areas. That task will be easier once all UK Administrations have made the transition to area-based payments."
Mr Reid told him: "If the review shows that farmers in any one part of the UK are being unfairly treated by the current allocation formula, it is obviously important that the outcome of the review is implemented straight away. I hope that the Minister will commit to supporting a speedy implementation."
George Eustice said that implementation would be considered as part of the review.
"We have always made it clear that changing allocations before 2020—within the current programme—would have some legal difficulties, as well as practical difficulties for other Administrations. At the very latest, the changes will take effect from 2020," the Minister added.
Mr Reid said afterwards: "There is a widespread belief that Scotland’s farmers are losing out as a result of the current formula for allocating CAP funds across the UK. The problem is that until all four Governments make the transition to area-based payments, it is not possible to make a direct comparison of land types and payment areas. The quicker this is done the better. We will then be able to make sure that CAP funds are being fairly allocated"