An ongoing battle with Westminster over farming powers and cash is holding up progress on devolved agricultural policies, according to the Scottish Government.
Scottish farmers were left disappointed by Mr Gove’s failure to mention the devolved regions in an otherwise well-received speech to last week’s Oxford Farming Conference.
Pressed by reporters on whether devolved policy would look similar to England’s, Mr Gove said it was up to Scotland and Wales to design their own set of rules, but it is not clear how far Scottish Ministers could go in creating new policy without assurances on cash and the future location of powers.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We need absolute clarity from the UK Government on two fundamental points when it comes to post-Brexit agriculture policy in Scotland.
“First, they must ensure responsibility for the sector is repatriated from Brussels to Holyrood rather than Westminster – something supported by a clear majority of Scottish public opinion.
“Secondly, UK Ministers must provide total clarity on both pre- and post-Brexit funding for rural Scotland – something they have not yet done.”
The ongoing row over the location of farming powers reached boiling point this week when the Scotland Office suggested amendments to the ‘power grab’ clause in the EU Withdrawal Bill would not be tabled until the legislation reaches the House of Lords.
Scottish Brexit Secretary Michael Russell slammed the delay.
“It is extremely disappointing the UK Government will not be – as it gave a clear undertaking to do – amending the EU Withdrawal Bill at the report stage to address the concerns of the Scottish and Welsh Governments over its approach to devolution”, he said.
According to reports, the Scotland Office has taken a ‘do it properly rather than rush it’ approach to tabling amendments, but Mr Russell hit back, claiming putting an amendment forward six months after the Bill was published could not be called ‘rushing it’.
Producing an amendment for discussion 6 months after bill was published couldn’t be called “rushing it” - but @GOVUK has failed even that timescale. Unacceptable & therefore @ScotGov must intensify work on its own Continuity Bill whilst still trying to conclude agreement t.co/Ogh8piMJUR— Michael Russell (@Feorlean)
Producing an amendment for discussion 6 months after bill was published couldn’t be called “rushing it” - but @GOVUK has failed even that timescale. Unacceptable & therefore @ScotGov must intensify work on its own Continuity Bill whilst still trying to conclude agreement https://t.co/Ogh8piMJUR— Michael Russell (@Feorlean) January 9, 2018
Beef and sheep farmer Peter Kennedy from Argyllshire told Farmers Guardian it was very important to understand which powers the Scottish Government would have post-Brexit.
“We need our own payments which reward productivity and good food production”, he said.
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