The Chancellor, Sajid Javid, has allocated £160 million convergence cash to Scottish farmers in his first ever spending review.
The offer of the money fulfils a promise Prime Minister Boris Johnson made to ‘address the historic injustice’ while he was campaigning for leadership of the Conservative Party.
The cash, returned by the EU to bump up Scottish payments which had been too low, became the subject of a long-running row between Westminster and Holyrood after the UK Government distributed it to farmers across all the home nations.
Though the money is now set to make its way back to Scotland, question marks remain over how it will be passed on to farmers, with Scottish Conservative MSP Edward Mountain calling on Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing to ‘honestly talk’ about what should happen next.
Politicians from across the spectrum were quick to claim the victory for themselves, with Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire tweeting: “Delighted for my Scottish hill farmers that the £160 million of convergence money which the UK Government tried to appropriate from Scotland will be returned.
“All the hard work of the SNP has paid off.”
Delighted for my Scottish hill farmers that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland will be returned. All the hard work of the SNP has paid off.— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart)
Delighted for my Scottish hill farmers that the £160 million of convergence money that the UK government tried to appropriate from Scotland will be returned. All the hard work of the SNP has paid off.— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) September 4, 2019
Newly-reappointed Scottish Conservative Shadow Rural Economy Secretary Peter Chapman was also keen to take credit.
He said: “Once again, this is evidence of Scottish Conservatives working with the UK Government to deliver for Scotland while the SNP complain from the sidelines.
“The money must now go directly to farmers, which for some, will make a crucial difference to their future viability.”
The Scottish Government welcomed the announcement in a statement from Mr Ewing.
He said: “This shows what can be achieved when Parliament and stakeholders all work together in the interests of Scottish farming.
“In particular, I want to thank Jim Walker for his efforts in recent months to help secure this outcome.
“I have already made clear, that should we receive what has now been promised, this funding will be ring-fenced for agriculture. I now call on the UK Government to return this money as soon as possible.”