Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill: supporting evidence and analysis

This report outlines the current position of the Scottish agricultural sector, with evidence aligned to the objectives in our Vision for Agriculture, and provides information on our approach to assessing new policy proposals as they are taken through secondary legislation.

Annex A. Published Research into the Effectiveness of the CAP

This Annex sets out a summary of the published evaluation evidence on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

We have reviewed over 20 evaluations and assessments, including from the European Court of Auditors, Scottish & UK Governments and academic institutions, to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the CAP (these are listed below).

While the CAP has helped farmers deliver economic, social and environmental benefits, the literature and, indeed, the EU, acknowledge shortcomings of the previous rounds of CAP. The published evaluations and assessments find:

  • most CAP funding under the 2014-20 round did not deliver the intended benefits or value for public money because:
    • direct payments were not targeted or means tested
    • the benefit did not necessarily go directly to the farmer
    • direct payments were found to reduce innovation, structural development, and productivity growth
    • direct payments had little environmental benefit, and in some cases may have had a negative impact
  • Greening and Less Favoured Area Support Scheme have been found not to deliver as effectively as possible on their stated objectives
  • some small schemes, such as Agri-Environment Climate Scheme, have been found to have a positive impact, though limited by budget or uptake
  • clear SMART objectives should be defined in future, to allow development of a future policy based on evidence and lessons learned from previous schemes

The replacement for the CAP will deliver the objectives set out in the Vision for Agriculture and, where practicable, stay aligned with new EU measures and policy development. This will require different choices to be made compared with the 2014-20 EU CAP.

CAP evaluations

CAP discussion and research

Further information



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