Rural Payments Strategy 2020-21

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 12th November 2020.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Although I am not a farmer, Mr Chapman is, and I hope that he has received his payment on time.

We have suspended the three-crop rule and have no plans to bring it back. We suspended it because we did not think that it was applicable to the particular circumstances of Scotland. In doing so, we recognised that, for a long time, there had been a clamant call from farmers to tackle it. I was therefore very pleased that we were able to do so. However, I want to emphasise the message that that was against the direction of travel, so to speak. The direction of travel will be to require change in order to meet environmental imperatives. That is a legal duty, but I think that it is also a moral imperative.

Yes, it is goodbye—not au revoir—to the three-crop rule, but further improvements will be needed on a major scale.