Rachael Hamilton MSP met with the Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP last week in Westminster to discuss agriculture and the opportunities post-Brexit.
Ms Hamilton discussed at length, the issue of the SNP Government failing to introduce a Scottish agriculture bill after they did not support one in the House of Commons.
The UK Government introduced the Agriculture Bill in the House of Commons on 12 September 2018 and set out a framework for continuing farm support payments that is less bureaucratic and focuses on improving the sector’s competitiveness and the natural environment.
Although agriculture is devolved, there are sections of the Bill that are reserved and therefore apply to the whole of the UK.
The Welsh Government and Northern Ireland's Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs have asked the UK Government to legislate on their behalf to create this ability. Scottish Government decided not to extend the powers of the Bill to Scotland.
Ms Hamilton and Mr Eustice discussed these implications and both agreed that the SNP should act in the best interests of Scottish farmers instead of pursuing an independence agenda.
Farming Minister George Eustice MP said:
“It was a pleasure to meet with Rachael Hamilton to discuss the possibilities that lie ahead for agriculture.
“Our Agriculture Bill sets out how farmers and land managers will in future be paid for “public goods”, such as better air and water quality, improved soil health and measures to reduce flooding.
“Our offer to include a Scottish schedule in the Bill remains open to the Scottish Government, to give those farmers certainty over the next steps as we leave the Common Agricultural Policy.”
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“It was a pleasure to meet with George Eustice MP and discuss what the future of farming holds post-Brexit.
“The UK Government are committed to ensuring that farming not only becomes more productive, but more environmentally-friendly too, something which the current CAP system failed to do.
“We covered a wide range of topics, and I would like to thank Mr Eustice for his role in Defra in the halting of drift netting off the Northumberland coast”.