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Barnett formula will not apply to post-Brexit farm payments

Hill farming - PA

Barnett formula will not apply to post-Brexit farm payments

Agricultural subsidies after European funding is replaced will not factor in the Barnett formula, it has been confirmed.

UK environment secretary Michael Gove has launched an independent review to establish fair funding arrangements for farmers, and confirmed it would operate on a UK-wide framework.

Current payments from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy are distributed by the Scottish Government but Gove said the new system would establish an independent advisory panel to determine distribution of funding between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The review, led by Lord Bew of Donegore will determine the system to replace CAP payments.

The UK Government said Barnett, which distributes funds to the Scottish Government based on population share, would effectively half the amount which farmers currently get from the EU.

Gove said: “We are committed to making sure that future funding is fairly allocated, and are also confirming that the Government won’t simply apply the Barnett formula to Defra’s funding beyond this parliament.

“Meanwhile our funding commitment up until the end of the Parliament gives more certainty for UK farmers than any other EU member state.”

Scotland secretary David Mundell said: “Under the present arrangements, Scotland receives twice as much money for farming support than might be expected were the Barnett formula alone to be used.

“The commitment that future agriculture funding will not simply be Barnettised should be welcomed across the board.

“This reinforces our commitment to Scottish farmers and I urge the Scottish Government to stop keeping them in the dark about its plans for the future of agriculture in Scotland.”

The SNP said the UK had only received an uplift in EU funding because of Scotland’s ‘euro-per-hectare’ rate, and accused the UK Government of withholding £160m funds intended for Scotland.

South Scotland MSP Emma Harper said: “The UK Government only agreed to review this funding under pressure from the SNP Government. It is incredibly disappointing that they have announced it before responding to the Scottish Government’s concerns – not least because the remit of the review appears to have been significantly watered down from their previous commitments.

 “It is therefore more important than ever that David Mundell, as the Scottish Secretary, adds his voice to calls for Scotland’s farmers to receive what they are entitled to.”

Agricultural funding is one of the powers withheld by the UK Government as part of the EU Withdrawal Act, which was passed without the Scottish Parliament’s consent.

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