NFU Scotland Briefs MSPs Ahead Of Stage One Debate On Agricultural Bill

The Union welcomes Rural Affairs and Islands (RAI) Committee’s Stage One Report.

Industry news
Published: 27/03/2024

Scottish Government’s Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill will be put to debate in Holyrood today (March 27). The proposed legislation is currently in Stage One of the parliamentary process and must be approved by MSPs before progressing to Stage Two.

NFU Scotland provided both oral and written evidence to the RAI Committee. Ahead of today’s Stage One debate, NFU Scotland’s policy team provided MSPs with a briefing on its key asks for the proposed legislation.

It reads: “The Union welcomes the commitment to co-develop the powers with industry and with those who will be affected by them.  This is important not just for farming and crofting businesses, but the wider rural community that relies on the sector. 

“We are calling for the five-year Rural Support Plan to be underpinned by a multiannual ringfenced funding commitment. We therefore welcome the Rural Affairs and Islands (RAI) Committee’s call for a multi-year, ring-fenced budget for support schemes and for the UK Government to provide clarity regarding future funding to make this possible. We also welcome the RAI’s call for the Barnett formula not to be applied to future agricultural and rural support provided by the UK Government but, instead, a formula be used which reflects Scotland’s agricultural landscape.

“There are no certainties regarding what agricultural funding will be available from Westminster beyond the end of the current parliament. NFU Scotland is also calling for at least another £1 billion to be added to the UK budget for agriculture, which would equate to at least an extra £170 million under current allocation.”

The Union has also reiterated the need to consult those directly affected by the Rural Support Plan during the preparation, or any subsequent reviews, of plans. It welcomed Scottish Government’s commitment to Tiers 1 and 2 constituting at least 70% of the overall funding envelope from 2027, and additional funding for the LFA Scheme.

NFU Scotland continues to closely collaborate with MSPs and Scottish Government as the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill progresses through the parliamentary process.

Get the latest direct to your inbox

Sign-up to our newsletter to receive updates and latest news.

Newsletter sign up