The Scottish Conservatives have accused the SNP Government of a ‘dereliction of duty’ after a freedom of information (FOI) request confirmed no planning had been carried out for a post-Brexit farm payment system in Scotland.
The FOI request was sent after Shadow Rural Economy Secretary Peter Chapman claimed he was unable to get any answers from Ministers on their plans for future policy in the chamber or during committee sessions.
A Scottish Government response to the request said no modelling could be undertaken without more clarity on funding from the UK Government.
“We have asked time and again what the SNP plan is for a post-Brexit farm payment system, but we have heard nothing from the Cabinet Secretary”, said Mr Chapman.
“I am absolutely astonished it is now clear no such plan exists, because the Government has not done any modelling.
“Given the vociferous demands from Scottish Ministers for full control over agriculture, our farmers need to know how any future payment system for Scotland will work.
“It is time for the SNP to put their cards on the table. This failure to plan ahead is a dereliction of duty to farmers across the country.”
The Scottish Conservatives’ FOI request followed a Farmers Guardian report last month which revealed the battle with Westminster over farming powers and cash was holding up progress on the development of a post-Brexit policy for Scotland.
At the time, a Scottish Government spokesman suggested it would not be possible for Ministers to move forward without assurances on money and the location of powers.
“We need absolute clarity from the UK Government on two fundamental points when it comes to post-Brexit agriculture policy in Scotland”, the spokesman said.
“First, they must ensure responsibility for the sector is repatriated from Brussels to Holyrood rather than Westminster.
“Secondly, UK Ministers must provide total clarity on both pre- and post-Brexit funding for rural Scotland – something they have not yet done.”