Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP has challenged the Scottish Government to design a bespoke system of agricultural support payments to kick in if Britain leaves the European Union.
At today’s Rural Affairs and Connectivity committee, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing refused to offer any guarantee that the Scottish Government was working on such a system or putting forward proposals to feed into an agreed UK wide framework.
Mr Rumbles said:
“If Britain leaves the EU we need a bespoke system of agricultural support in place that brings together all our stakeholders, producers, environmentalists and consumers to agree a way forward for Scotland.
“It now looks like this opportunity is being missed as Ministers are talking about working within an agreed UK ‘framework’ and ignoring Scotland’s distinctive farming needs.
“The SNP got high and mighty demanding that powers over agricultural support worth up to £500 million a year were returned from Brussels to Scotland but haven’t a clue how they would use these powers when they arrive. This is a dereliction of duty of the worst kind and risks damaging our whole rural economy.”