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Devolved nations ‘scaremongering’ about future ag funding, says Farming Minister

Farming Minister Robert Goodwill has said the Scottish and Welsh Governments are ‘scaremongering’ about future funding for farmers.


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Devolved nations ‘scaremongering’ about future ag funding, says Farming Minister

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths told journalists last week she ‘did not know how she would pay farmers next year’ because of a lack of clarity from Westminster.

 

Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing also hit out at the UK Government’s approach to future funding, branding it ‘reckless and counterproductive’.

 

But speaking on Farmers Guardian’s latest episode of Ploughing Through Brexit, Mr Goodwill denied there was a problem.

 

 

“I think there might have been a degree of scaremongering here, there is really nothing to worry about,” he said.

 

“The UK Government has already guaranteed that any projects where funding has been agreed before the end of 2020 will be funded for their full lifetime, and as far as BPS is concerned, in the 2020 year, there will be no change.

 

“I am sorry if people have been unduly worried about that, but we have made it absolutely clear the money is in our back pocket ready to deliver on these schemes.”


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Mr Goodwill also moved to reassure farmers about the post-Brexit farming budget for England.

 

A recent report from Government watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) warned the Treasury would cut funding if take-up of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS) was low.

 

But the Minister said in his experience, farmers were very keen to apply for environmental schemes.

 

“I do not envisage that take-up will be low, particularly if there is money attached to the scheme,” he added.

 

“The way you will be able to access support from the taxpayer will be by engaging in these schemes. I am confident uptake will be good and payments will be made on time.

 

“We have now got agreement from Treasury that all the payments for environmental schemes will be paid by the end of July, and that should reassure people we do mean business when we say we are going to keep our side of the bargain in terms of delivery.”

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