NFU Scotland has met with Defra Farming Minister George Eustice today (Thursday 7 January) to press again for movement and a timetable on the allocation of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) convergence money.
Following continuous lobbying, NFU Scotland was previously promised that this would be reviewed once the new CAP was implemented.
Now this is being implemented there are no obstacles for this review to take place; this was recognised by the Minister at today’s meeting.
An unerring goal of NFU Scotland since 2013 has been to secure real movement on the allocation of the UK’s €230 million convergence dividend from the European Union (EU). Scotland, with the third lowest Pillar 1 [direct support] payment rate per hectare in the EU, was the reason why the UK received this dividend due to Scotland’s below average area payment rates. However, the UK Government chose to share this across the whole of the UK on the basis of historic allocations.
At today’s meeting in London, NFU Scotland also discussed the repatriation of red meat levy money with the Minister. It is now nine years since the Radcliffe review of agricultural levy bodies suggested that, for livestock levies, statutory monies should be returned to promotional bodies in the animal’s country of birth. That was a recommendation that NFU Scotland supported.
With an agreement now reached by all red meat levy bodied on how this should be done NFU Scotland pressed the case that it is now important that the government implements the necessary legislative changes required to bring the new levy arrangements into operation.
Allan Bowie NFU Scotland’s President commented on the meeting: “When the Minister spoke at our AGM in February last year he made it clear that a review of the internal allocation of UK CAP funding could be started once each of the devolved administrations in the UK had implemented the new CAP. With this now done we discussed with him the timetable for this review.
“He made it clear today he wants the review concluded by the end of this year and is prepared to work with NFU Scotland, ahead of a formal consultation, to look at the mechanism to be used to deliver a fair allocation of UK CAP funding.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with his officials on how a fair allocation can be delivered and the fact that this work will be started immediately. We expect the Minister to say more shortly on the review process.
“We also discussed the need to move forward the issue of red meat levy repatriation. With a solution now on the table and the recognition that this has been a long running sore that needs to be sorted, we informed the Minister today that we are now looking for progress to be made on this issue.”

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