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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 13th February 2020.

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Jonnie Hall:

I am happy to start. I can quote Mr Eustice back at him and say that the CAP has largely “incentivised inertia”—a phrase he has used many times. We agree. The bluntness of area-based payments has not driven innovation or productivity, or indeed delivered on environmental challenges.

In that respect, we see the departure from the EU and from the CAP as an opportunity to develop bespoke agricultural policy tailored to the individual needs of the devolved Administrations. We have some capacity for that already, in the fact that we have four different settlements of pillar 1 and pillar 2 under the CAP, but we are nevertheless constrained by an awful lot of bureaucracy and by the rules and regulations around mapping, inspections, penalties and so on.

It is vital for us to take the opportunity and for Scotland to be allowed, under the devolved nature of agricultural policy development and delivery, to develop its own suite of schemes and measures that fit the needs and profile of Scottish agriculture, which is significantly different from that of the rest of the UK and, in particular, England. That is absolutely right and, therefore, this provides us with an opportunity.