Plaid Cymru has called on Ministers to set up an independent oversight body to resolve disputes about farm funding across the four nations of the UK after Brexit.
The new body would also be responsible for deciding future funding allocations, ensuring the policies of each nation met the UK’s international commitments and preventing distortion of the internal market.
Ben Lake, Ceredigion MP and Plaid’s agriculture spokesman in Westminster, made the recommendations in the party’s submission to the Bew Review.
The review was launched by Defra Secretary Michael Gove in October 2018 to look at ways to deliver fair funding to farmers across the four UK nations after Brexit.
In an exclusive article for Farmers Guardian’s Brexit hub, Mr Lake wrote: “At present, there is no appropriate body to oversee the policies in the four nations of the UK, and neither is there a dispute mechanism which is trusted by the four administrations and the four industries.
“As well as deciding future funding allocations, an oversight body could adjudicate whether the respective policies of the four nations abide by the UK’s international commitments, or are in danger of distorting the internal market.
“I can also see a sort of dispute resolution mechanism role for it in disagreements emanating from the not too unlikely event additional support is afforded to farmers in one nation, but not another, when both groups are impacted by the same exceptional market circumstances or severe weather events.”
Mr Lake suggested the Agriculture Bill should be used to set up the new body to give it legal clout.
His call comes in the wake of a row between the UK and Scottish Governments over convergence cash.
The seven-year battle began after the EU returned £160 million to the UK because Scottish farm payments had been too low, but UK Ministers handed the money out to all the home nations – not just Scotland.
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