Legislation which will ensure farmers continue to receive financial support while Scotland transitions to its own post-Brexit agricultural policy has passed Stage 3 in the Scottish Parliament.
The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill was heralded by the farmers’ union as a key step towards creating stability and certainty for the industry, and Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said it would allow the Scottish Government to simplify and free up resources to pilot schemes that might feature in future rural support policy.
Mr Ewing said: “The uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of Covid show how important it is to give our industry financial stability in the next few years.
“This Bill is the first step to ensure that we secure the ability to continue to operate CAP schemes from 2021 – this includes the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme, Knowledge Transfer and Innovation and Small Farmers Grant Scheme.”
Mr Ewing said he would continue to press the UK Government to adhere to its commitment that EU funding would be replaced , and made it clear Scotland will not move to a new agricultural policy until 2024.
NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said the powers created by the Bill must be used to best effect.