Public consultation launched.
Proposals for a five year transition period for farming and rural support, should Scotland leave the EU, have been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
The proposals aim to provide stability, certainty and simplicity for farmers, crofters and land users, with the key measure of a transition period of between three and five years being one of the main recommendations of the Agriculture Champions.
At the same time, some measures will be streamlined and simplified, to free up resource to pilot and test activities likely to feature in a future farming and rural support policy. The key changes being proposed include a limit on payments, reduced inspections and penalties.
Launching the consultation, Mr Ewing said:
“As we are taken out of the EU, we must now decide how radical we wish to be, and importantly, how fast we wish to change. My priority in the short term is to provide people in rural businesses with as much security as possible and this paper sets out options to try and achieve this.
“In the short-term, I am proposing that support schemes for active farming, food production, environmental improvements, forestry and rural development fundamentally stay largely the same. However, where schemes and processes can usefully be simplified and streamlined, we should do so, particularly if that frees up resource to test new approaches and measures.
“I also want to hear views on the longer term direction of travel. All ideas and proposals will be explored as part of the wider civic conversation around how best to sustain a vibrant and flourishing rural economy in the future. With Brexit representing the biggest challenge to rural Scotland for a generation, people deserve security and stability, and that is what I am determined to provide.”
Stability and Simplicity: proposals for rural funding transition period will run until 15th August.
A Future Strategy for Scottish Agriculture was developed by the four agricultural champions, Henry Graham (Scottish Chair of Lantra), Archie Gibson (Chair of Scottish Food and Drink Federation), John Kinnaird (Farmer and former President of NFUS), and Marion MacCormick (former Buying Director for ALDI).
The consultation is part of the civic conversation being held this summer which also involves activity by the National Council on Rural Advisors to seek views on its more far-reaching recommendations to support growth in the rural economy.