Frustration is growing in the farming industry as the long-awaited Bew Review into farm funding has been delayed.
Due to be released over a month ago, Lord Bew’s report is to provide recommendations on the split of agricultural funding between the four countries of the UK and what factors need to be considered.
There is a particular sense of anticipation in Scotland where parties have been fighting to ‘redress a historic injustice’.
In 2013, the EU redistributed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments based on average Euros per hectare.
The Union paid to bring farmers in Scotland up to the average per-hectare payments of the rest of the EU.
However, the UK government agreed to spread the £160m payments across the whole of the farming sector instead.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, said: “For six years, the Scottish Government has resolutely argued for the rights of Scotland’s farmers, cajoling and urging the UK Government to rectify this historic injustice.
“This money was intended to provide financial support to our farmers by creating a more level playing field across the EU. The UK only received this money because of Scotland’s farmers and therefore it should be returned to Scotland – with no strings attached – so that we can allocate it to support those who earned it and need it the most.”
The Bew Review, commissioned by then-Defra Secretary, Michael Gove, was initially designed to look at future funding and not to consider the £160m in question.
Since Boris Johnson’s appointment as Prime Minister, however, the PM has pledged to return the money to Scottish farmers.
It is this pledge that is assumed to have upset the balance of the Bew Review, with Johnson meeting competition over the government having to fund the recommendations as well as the £160m.
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