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Frustration for Scottish farmers as Bew Review into farm funding delayed

Farmers and industry chiefs are still waiting for the recommendations of the Bew Review into future funding allocations after it was promised more than a month ago.

Fergus Ewing
Fergus Ewing
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Frustration for Scottish farmers as Bew Review into farm funding delayed

The report, prepared under the chairmanship of Lord Bew, is especially eagerly anticipated in Scotland where there is a burning sense of injustice over the 2013 inter-UK funding decision which left the country short of £160 million of what is known as internal convergence money.

 

This week, Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy said: "For six years, the Scottish Government has resolutely argued for the rights of Scotland’s farmers, cajoling and urging the UK Government to rectify this historic injustice.

 

"This money was intended to provide financial support to our farmers by creating a more level playing field across the EU. The UK only received this money because of Scotland’s farmers and therefore it should be returned to Scotland - with no strings attached - so that we can allocate it to support those who earned it and need it the most."

 

Political

 

The reasons for the non-appearance of the review are almost certainly political.

 

When then Defra Secretary Michael Gove commissioned the Bew Review he insisted that it should only look at future funding and not consider the disputed £160m.

 

However during his Tory leadership campaign, Boris Johnson made an unexpected pledge to return the money in full to Scottish farmers.

 

The speculation is that this has completely upset the calculations in the Bew Review and that the Treasury has balked at funding the recommendations while at the same time finding the now-promised £160m.

 

 

 


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NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick said: “It was exclusively as a result of Scotland’s low Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support payment rate per hectare that the UK was awarded the convergence uplift of £160m in 2013 as part of the European reforms of the CAP.

 

“Since 2013, a succession of Defra Ministers has promised a review of the allocation of the EU uplift.

 

"The Bew Review is the delivery of that promise and we had expected it to have been published by now. Government needs to set a date for its publication; stick to it and stop delaying.”

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