News in Brief April 2021

i) SNP commit to following EU farming policies

In its Manifesto, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has committed to follow similar policies to those being developed as part of changes to the EU Common Agricultural Policy, including the current Farm to Fork proposals - in line with its continued desire to re-join the EU.

While half of all farm payments will be focussed on environmental outcomes from 2025, an SNP Government would continue to provide a proportion of direct farm payments if the Internal Market Act allows - an approach which stands in stark contrast to the positions in Wales and England, where governments have pledged to phase out direct support, with English payments due to be cut from this year. This highlights one of the many grave concerns that the FUW has raised since the Brexit referendum, as under current plans Wales’ farmers would receive payments solely for public goods while being subject to unfair competition from those in Scotland and the EU receiving direct support.

ii) Scottish beef farmers continue to receive headage payments

The Scottish Government recently confirmed that its beef farmers would continue to receive a headage payment in 2021 as part of its Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme.

Animals born on a Scottish holding of at least 75% beef bred and kept for more than 30 days will be eligible for £98.92 (mainland) or £144.27 (island) per head out of the £40 million budget in an attempt to sustain beef herd numbers.