Wishart dismisses Tory claims over payments as ‘nonsense’
While Conservative calls for the Scottish Government to give the farming industry “certainty” on post-brexit payments by matching new clauses in the UK Agriculture Bill were renewed yesterday, an SNP MP dismissed suggestions that payments were at risk as “nonsense”.
Speaking at a meeting with farmers, Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said that to claim that support payments to Scottish farmers were at risk because Scotland had not signed up to the UK Agriculture Bill was noth- ing more than irresponsible scaremongering.
“The risk simply does not exist,” he said, adding that Scotland would bring in its own relevant legislation.
However Colin Clark MP, Scottish Conservative spokesman on farming at Westminster, who sits on the committee that is scrutinising the legislation, said Scottish farmers needed clarity from the SNP government on the future of payments.
“The National Farmers Union Scotland has said ‘the engine is running’ on the Agriculture Bill currently going through parliament, and it is time for the SNP to get on board.”
Adding that Scotland’s SNP government had refused to join the rest of the UK on the agriculture bill, he said the legislation allowed Wales and Northern Ireland, as devolved administrations, to develop support systems to replace the EU’S common agricultural policy, under Uk-wide frameworks.
He added that a new clause tabled to the bill by George Eustice clarified the legal status of payments from 2020 on. “It is essential that Scotland, like Wales and Northern Ireland, is covered by this act of collective responsibility to the internal UK market,” said Clark.