Wishart dis­misses Tory claims over pay­ments as ‘non­sense’

The Scotsman - - Weater / Farming - By BRIAN HEN­DER­SON

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.

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