Agricultural Transition Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:31 pm, 30th November 2020

It is the case that England is a long way ahead of Scotland in terms of developing future policy. We want to take the opportunities that come from leaving the European Union to chart a different course and put in place a policy that makes more sense. Our view is that arbitrary area-based subsidies for people based only on the amount of land that they own or rent makes no sense in this day and age, and we should be directing those funds in a different way.

The hon. Lady mentions funds for Scotland. In line with our manifesto commitment, Scotland will have £595 million for its agriculture budget. She should note that we chose an exchange rate fixed in 2019 that is far more favourable for farmers right across the UK than the average exchange rate across the last perspective. She should also note that the European Union has just slashed its agriculture spending by 10%, while the UK Government have maintained it, and changes to the exchange rate mean that the rate of payment is some 20% higher than it would have been had we not voted to leave the European Union.

On the hon. Lady’s final point about divergence, Scotland and other devolved Administrations will have more freedom than ever before to design a policy that they judge to be right for them. We will set up a joint group across the UK to do market surveillance, to ensure that there is not disturbance to the internal market and to share ideas on what works.