Legislation which allows the Common Agricultural Policy to be simplified and improved post-Brexit has passed Stage 1, following a debate in the Scottish Parliament.
The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill creates powers to enable Scottish Ministers to ensure CAP schemes can continue beyond this year and also modify retained EU Law in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“The ongoing uncertainty of Brexit and now the impact of COVID-19 show how important it is to give our farmers and crofters financial stability in the next few years. But we also need to have powers to simplify or improve the current Common Agricultural Policy schemes to tailor them to our unique needs.
“This legislation sets out to do just that by creating new powers to enable us to modify elements of retained EU law. It will also update the legal basis for collecting information about the agri-food supply chain and activities related to agriculture.
“As outlined in our 2018 Stability and Simplicity proposals, we are introducing a transition period until 2024, where we will seek measures to streamline, simplify and free up resources to pilot and test activities likely to feature in a future farming and rural support policy beyond 2024.
“This bill puts in place the legal framework to allow that work to be taken forward. It is largely about process, rather than policy and it is vital that the Scottish Parliament comes together to agree it so that we have these powers in place for 2021. I am pleased that parliament has given its support at Stage 1.”
The Agriculture (Retained EU Law and Data) (Scotland) Bill does not set out the future direction of Scottish rural support policy, or completely reform existing policy. This work is being undertaken by the Farming and Food Production Future Policy Group that was announced at this year’s Royal Highland Show.
Stability and Simplicity was published in June 2018 outlining proposals for a five year transition period for farming and rural support in the event of Brexit.