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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:

It is quite clear, in many ways, in the sense that the development and delivery of agricultural schemes and policy, in terms of what outcomes we want to achieve from managing our land in an agricultural sense, should absolutely be devolved, and is today. However, when you are looking at the operation of the internal UK market, we need to be able to operate to the same rules in a very transparent and open way across the United Kingdom.

Our worry and concern is that a lot of the discussions from outside of the Government appear to be about common frameworks, but we are unsighted on that. We are not seeing what common frameworks might look like. More important to me is the governance of those common frameworks going forward. Like or loathe the European Commission, at least it acted as some sort of referee when it came to compliance with regulation, standards and so on across member states and within the UK. If we are going to preserve the internal UK market, as Alan Clarke has pointed out is so important to Scottish agriculture, we need to ensure that we are all playing to the same rulebook on a whole range of issues. We are unsighted on an awful lot of that. We are still trying to flush out of Governments—plural—the actions and discussions that are going on.