Farming Minister Robert Goodwill is said to be pushing for a multi-annual agriculture budget after Brexit.
According to Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, Mr Goodwill issued a ‘plea’ to introduce a multi-year framework during a recent meeting held with Ministers from the devolved nations.
Mr Ewing has also put on record his support for a long-term budget – something industry bodies across the UK have been calling for, but which Defra Secretary Michael Gove has previously ruled out.
Speaking to MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee last week, Mr Ewing said: “I have discussed this with NFUS, I have discussed it with my colleague [Finance Secretary] Derek Mackay, and also Defra Minister Robert Goodwill raised it in the last inter-ministerial group meeting.
“We are moving from an EU multi-annual framework to a UK Government proposal which, insofar as it is clear at all, would suggest the approach is on an annual basis.
“That does not really help the rural economy, most of which is based on long-term activities like planting trees and crop rotations.
“You plan ahead with this, and you really do need the surety of knowing what financial support is available whatever you do, not one year ahead, but several years.
“I hope Mr Goodwill’s plea to his colleagues will be taken up and that a multi-annual approach can be pursued if Brexit were to go ahead.”
When questioned by Farmers Guardian about the matter last week, Mr Ewing went further, saying he wanted the multi-annual budget to be ringfenced for ‘rural Britain’.
He also said Lord Bew, who is heading up a UK Government review into fair farm funding, was ‘sympathetic’ to the idea of a multi-year framework.