More information announced about Scottish agricultural policy

Monday, 12 February 2024

The Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf announced at the NFU Scotland’s spring conference that 70% of future support for Scottish farmers will be provided as direct payments.

Following the EU Exit, the devolved nations have been responsible for developing and delivering the farm support in the respective nations. Since the EU Exit, Scottish agricultural policy has closely aligned with the EU. The 2020 Retained EU Law bill retained the Common Agricultural Policy payment for Scottish farmers, and it allowed for modifications by Scottish Ministers.

As discussed in our previous article there will be four tiers of payments to Scottish farmers. Tiers 1 and 2 will form direct payments and will support farming and also support those who are fulfilling standards relating to climate and biodiversity. Tiers 3 and 4 will be indirect payments for those who elect to specific actions such as restoring peatland.

As confirmed at the conference, 70% of future support will be provided as the direct payments relating to tiers 1 and 2, and the remaining 30% will be used for targeted measures such as creating wetland, restoring peatland and planting trees.

The Scottish government plans to end BPS payments in 2026 and introduce the new farm support scheme, whereby 70% of the funding will be paid to farmers directly.

It is important to note that although policy is devolved, trade is not. Therefore, there isn’t a level playing field for farmers across the UK. However, this is something that is already playing out as Scottish farmers are still receiving their BPS payments, while BPS payments for English farmers will have reduced by 50% in 2024.

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Jess Corsair

Senior Economist

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