Westminster ministerial talks focus on securing funding and policies that strike the right Brexit deal

A day after the General Election announcement, NFU Scotland officeholders and staff have been in Westminster pressing the UK Government on recognising the unique requirements of the Scottish agricultural industry.

The Union’s President Andrew McCornick and Vice President Gary Mitchell have met with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom MP; Defra Minister George Eustice MP and Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP.  The Union officeholders were accompanied by Director of Policy Jonnie Hall and Parliamentary Officer Clare Slipper.

Securing the right Brexit deal for Scottish farmers and crofters remained top of the agenda, with the Union also pressing for UK Government to commit to continued funding to enable a smooth transition as the industry faces the challenges and opportunities of a post-Brexit world.

Union Vice President Martin Kennedy was also in London today attending a roundtable meeting of UK stakeholders, facilitated by NFU England and Wales, where Brexit and future agricultural policy was on the agenda.

Speaking after the Ministerial meeting, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said: “With a General Election now weeks away, all parties will find their records on delivering for Scottish agriculture and the food and drink sectors under scrutiny.

“We continue to press on the UK Government the importance of committing to longer term funding and its fair allocation across the UK.  That will be key to winning the confidence of Scottish farmers and crofters, and a clear indication that their needs are being heard in the Brexit negotiations.

“At the meeting, the Ministers outlined their vision for farming and food, that it should thrive across all parts of the United Kingdom and that they are committed in their desire to deliver that.

“We are looking to both Westminster and Holyrood to restore confidence and certainty to all Scotland’s farmers and crofters through agreeing a necessary and meaningful transition. The discussion with Ministers at Westminster today gave us the opportunity to reiterate our position that any successor policy should be funded on a UK-wide common financial framework, but with policy development and delivery kept within the mainstay of the devolved administrations.

“It is concerning that, nearly one month in to the two-year Article 50 process, Scottish farmers and crofters still remain in the dark about how a future agricultural policy will be both delivered and funded in three short years’ time.

“What we need urgently is genuine discussion on the policy instruments and funding mechanisms that will lead to a well-funded, refreshed agricultural policy that delivers for all parts of the UK.”

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