21 March 2017: NFU Scotland and Scottish Land & Estates call for UK-wide framework to replace Common Agricultural Policy
Westminster Policy Forward Planning
Scotland’s farmers and landowners are in support of the repatriation of agricultural policies from Brussels to Westminster, with the provision that support should then be devolved within the union.
A UK-wide framework replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy should also be put in place by Westminster so the British market will not be fragmented. This will also remove any need for the creation of internal UK trade barriers which would result as a consequence of maintaining entirely different systems of agriculture support north and south of the Borders.
The Prime Minister indicated that Westminster would set up the frameworks for the replacement schemes to the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy to ensure there was no fragmentation of the British market. Further powers over delivering would be devolved to give the Scottish Parliament flexibility.
Scottish government Policy Forward Planning
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Agriculture and rural policy are fully devolved areas and the Scottish Government must retain its power to manage policy and determine funding levels appropriately. “We will strongly oppose any attempt to repatriate powers from Brussels to Westminster instead of the Scottish Parliament.”
Farmers Union and Landowners Proposals
Scottish Land & Estates agreed there needed to be “some sort of UK wide agricultural policy framework. This is simply a pragmatic position based on our belief that it is important to maintain a functioning UK-wide agricultural system. We believe that, ultimately, some level of UK cooperation or policy co-ordination will be required and that it should be possible to achieve that without Scotland losing any powers.”
NFU Scotland also said there must be a commonly agreed framework, with the UK and Scottish governments agreeing what measures should be included in it. “It is equally vital that, in order to prevent distortion of intra-UK trade, that devolved agricultural policies do not diverge significantly,” its submission said.
It said there were different ways of achieving this goal, including Scotland gaining total control over agriculture then bargaining with the UK Government, or via an agreement to share power through a CAP replacement. But offered a view that a complete devolution of agriculture powers repatriated from Brussels may make it more difficult for the UK Government to negotiate international trade deals and create internal barriers to trade. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/21/scottish-farmers-call-uk-wide-framework-replace-common-agricultural/)
Subsidy Payments to Farmers in Scotland – Convergence Uplift
A major row has broken out over the distribution of subsidies specifically allocated by the EU for the farming sector in Scotland. The Tory government, took control of the new finance and announced that any payments from the new funds would be made through the common agricultural policy (CAP) and would be applied UK wide. The government’s decision means that farmers in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will receive the same proportion of the CAP budget over the lifetime of the present agreement.
Scottish government ministers and the NFU in Scotland claimed farmers north of the border would be deprived of hundreds of millions of euros in “convergence uplift” subsidies that were “rightfully theirs”, adding that the only reason the UK qualified for the uplift was because of Scotland’s low payments under the current system.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead described Westminster’s decision to share out Scotland’s money across the UK as “a disgrace”. and said: “I do not know how UK ministers will be able to look Scottish farmers in the eye after this outrageous decision that amounts to pocketing Scotland’s farm payments,” he said.
“I am also aghast that Alistair Carmichael, can welcome the UK government’s decision to give Scotland the lowest farm payments in the whole of Europe and the UK.
“If Scotland had been a member state in our own right during those negotiations, we would have benefited from a one billion euro uplift. We have been denied that uplift and now we are even being denied up to 230 million euro uplift that the UK gets because of Scotland.”
NFU Scotland said farmers had been dealt “a bitter blow” by failing to win an immediate boost in European cash.
Scottish Conservative rural affairs spokesman Alex Ferguson said he was disappointed that all the extra convergence money did not go to Scotland.
Scottish Labour rural affairs spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “I am disappointed that Scotland has not received an immediate uplift as called for on a cross-party basis by MSPs.
Queen Elizabeth – The Welfare Queen
Do Queen Elizabeth II and her children till the fields or milk cows? The answer is of course no! But qualifying conditions for the (European Common Market Policy (CAP))farming support says that the Queen and her family members are farmers. This allows them to claim large financial farm subsidies annually from taxpayers, in complete disregard of the fabulous financial fortunes worth many hundreds of millions of pounds that they inherit with their titles.
Subsidies are sold to the electorate as their duty to help struggling small farmers and is achieved through the media brainwashing of consumers convincing them that they need to possess a deep awareness of and sympathy for the long suffering rural community.
But when Westminster enacts the subsidies, the major share is allocated with well practised stealth to wealthy landholders and corporate interests. Robbing the poor and rewarding the rich is the mantra of Westminster governments and this will never change.
But the irony is that there are many farmers in Scotland struggling to stay afloat within the existing system and they throughly deserve more financial support. The irony is that they will be fleeced by Westminster forever unless they support an independent Scotland.
Rural Payments Agency – Acres and acres of madness – and they call this reform – Boris Johnson
At the bottom of the garden we have a paddock, and on evenings like this I can think of no lovelier place on earth. The buds have budded. The trees are in leaf. The lambs are making a racket. The rabbits show a boldness that verges on insolence. Everywhere I look I see nature transpiring at every pore with the green joy of photosynthesis. I see the hawthorn blossom, rolling for miles in great gun-smoke clouds. I see the shade starting to lengthen from the old oak, and the lovely rickety fence, on which I sometimes balance champagne bottles and shoot them off with an airgun, and I lie down on the springy grass and look up at the pale moon in the blue sky and I breathe a sigh of deep and unchallengeable contentment.
Sometimes, you know, I just can’t believe my luck. Because it turns out that I am not only the possessor of a magnificent paddock. I am a farmer. Yes, folks, I am a Tibullan agricola. I am Marie-Antoinette. I have managed to hitch my wagon to the gravy train of the CAP and clamp my jaws about the hind teat of Defra. By virtue of possessing 0.3 hectares of grass, excluding the dilapidated outside privy, I am apparently eligible for subsidy!
You think I am mad; but read the 98-page booklet provided by the Rural Payments Agency and you will find your lungs tightening and your lips blibbering into a pant-hoot of pure amazement at the insanity of our masters.
The government – Brussels – the taxpayer – whoever – is seriously going to pay me 10 euros a year merely for being the owner of this blissful patch of grass and rabbits. I don’t have to farm it, in any meaningful sense.
I don’t even have to graze a pony, though I could. I can use it for clay pigeons. I can use it for hot-air ballooning, it says here in the pamphlet. I can organise motocross events or nature trails across the paddock. Provided I don’t do it for more than 28 days a year, I can even have car-boot sales. I can invite Billy Smart’s circus to pitch their big top in the paddock, or I can let it out as a location for television. Year after year, the cheque will come in from Brussels via Defra, 10 princely euros, as a thank you to me and my family for doing – well, for doing absolutely nothing except luxuriating in the existence of this paddock.
Weeping with laughter, I decide to ring the Rural Payments Agency to find out if I can possibly have read this right. Yes, they say, it sounds like you qualify. Yes, they say, there are plenty of people who have been given subsidy entitlements for having pony paddocks, just like the one you describe. Yes, it is OK to mow it. Yes, it is acceptable to use the land for having barbecues, playing rounders or nude sunbathing. Yes, says the Rural Payments Agency, you can have a pony paddock and attract the subsidy, without going to the trouble of having a pony. Yes, says the agency (now with a tremor of exhaustion in its voice), you are right in thinking that you are getting the money for nothing at all except keeping the land in “good environmental condition”.
Fantastic! I say. Where do I send the form? And it is only then, of course, that I discover the catch.
My paddock qualifies in every respect. This beautiful, if tiny, corner of Oxfordshire is entitled to all the dignity that goes with being a CAP-funded estate – except that, like a complete fool, I missed the deadline, in May 2005, for registering my claim. Through sheer stupidity, I failed to grasp that last year the government changed the basis on which agricultural subsidy is to be paid. Under the reforms of the CAP, farmers are no longer rewarded for growing barley or rearing suckler cows. It is the end of paying Greeks for growing acres of fictitious olives.
Under the brilliant new single farm payment, the Greeks and the rest of us are to be rewarded simply for having grown acres of fictitious olives in the past. You no longer need even to pretend to grow the olives; you simply have to show that you have title to the land and that you are keeping it in good nick, olives or no olives; and that is why the pony paddocks of England are now accompanied by EU subsidy.
If I missed the deadline, there were thousands of paddock-owners who were quicker off the mark, who whanged those forms into the Rural Payments Agency – and who caused the monumental chaos with which you will be familiar. Across Britain there are farming families who have been driven deep into debt, and farmers who have contemplated suicide, because of the government’s disastrous failure to send out the single farm payments.
They were told they could expect the payment in December; then it was February; then March; and when, by mid-March, Margaret Beckett was forced to come to the Commons and apologise, it was obvious that the system was in meltdown. And the reason it was in meltdown was at least partly because no one had predicted that the number of subsidy claimants would rise – from 80,000 to 120,000 – as the paddock-owners, the raspberry-growers, the filbert-growers and the possessors of 0.3-hectare marrow patches piled in to register their land.
And, of course, there will be some optimists who point out that the expense can’t be overwhelming, not at 10 euros a paddock. But if you look at the Rural Payments Agency booklet, you will see how ever more of our countryside is now being sucked into a bureaucratic vortex of madness.If you claim a subsidy for your orchard (as you may), you have to prove that your trees are 10 metres apart and that the trunks are one metre in circumference; and if you have more than 50 trees a hectare, you’ve got to prove to the inspector that the bases of the trees have previously been nibbled by sheep. You can grow cucumbers, cabbages and cauliflowers, but not strawberries or mint!
Think of the new legions of bureaucrats being created, who will have to check whether or not you are running your subsidised nudist colony for more than 28 days.
Forty thousand new dependants have been created! Untold acres are now under new and pointless subsidy! And they call this reform? No wonder Margaret Beckett was promoted.
The Common Market Farming policy is scheduled for a major shake up, from 2020, as a direct result of the UK withdrawal from the EC and the culmination of discussions with World Trade countries including; Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil, India, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and a host of developing countries, for European negotiators to set a firm date for ending farm subsidies that effectively lock poor farmers around the globe out of profitable markets.
The USA, currently lukewarm on discussions operates a farm subsidies policy which also sustains a small percentage of farmers who earn more than $350K annually, and subsidies have notoriously benefited only the millionaires of US society. Which way will Trump jump?
How are Payments calculated?
From 2015 -2020, the single payment scheme was replaced by the “basic payment scheme” (BPS), which was intended to close some of the loopholes in the previous system and give greater weight to the provision of environmental public goods.
However, the new system remains largely based on land ownership. Under the basic payment scheme around 30 per cent of a farmer’s payment depends on them meeting three “greening” rules. These require farmers to grow two or three different crops, to devote at least 5 per cent of their arable land to “ecological focus areas” like hedges and fallow land, and to take some responsibility for maintaining the proportion of permanent grassland in the country.
The new scheme also bars some businesses from claiming the subsidy if they also operate airports, railway services, waterworks, real estate services, or permanent sports grounds. However, these businesses are still able to claim BPS if, for example, they have more than 36 hectares of eligible.
Farming Subsidy Payments 2015/2016
Support in excess of £1million (12)
A P Jess (Brechin) Ltd DD9 BRECHIN £1,429,303.00
Ballindalloch Distillery LLP AB37 Ballloch £1,273,123.30
Catrine Community Trust KA5 Catrine £1,253,793.00
Frank A Smart & Son Ltd AB31 BANCHORY £2,986,506.48 Owns 85,000 acres+ from Aberdeenshire to the Western Isles. Claimed over £12million since 2010. A “slipper farmer”.
Glenfeshie Estate Ltd IV2 INVERNESS £1,781,486.64
Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd EH10 Edinburgh £1,539,049.00
John F Hartz OX18 OXON £1,318,912.12
John Fergus & Company Ltd KY13 MILNATHORT £1,263,294.00
R J & T J & M T Feakins TD9 HAWICK £1,270,281.64
RSPB EH12 EDINBURGH £3,584,031.90 Claimed 1,961,450 in 2014/15
SG:RPID:Futures EH11 Edinburgh £4,110,035.34
Strathvaich Farms LLP CO10 SUDBURY £1,429,303.00 English company. Owns Stravaich Estate at Garve, Ross-shire. Bulk of grant was for planting trees on its land.
Support in Excess of £500K (29)
A F Gospel DG13 Langholm £737,776.48
Adephi Distillery Ltd PH36 Ardnamuchan £623,236.00 Adelphi Distillery Ltd received a grant of £1,148,736 (in 2014/15) for its new Ardnamurchan Distillery.
Balnagown Castle Prop Ltd IV18 KILDARY £605,942.89
Broadland Properties Ltd PH33 ARDGOUR £591,545.45
G Barbour & Co DG2 DUMFRIES £821,174.90 Claimed £649,306 in 2014/15. Farm in Dumfries
Gairloch & Conon Estate IV7 CONON BRIDGE £739,231.81
Genoch Mains Farms DG9 STRANRAER £857,168.32
Heidi Beers Ltd G40 Glasgow £575,623.00
Invercauld Estates AB35 BALLATER £761,179.11
J & T F Macfarlane Ltd TD3 GORDON £582,476.65 Major Livestock breeder. Claimed £525,567 in 2014/15
John Mark Gibson KA6 DALMELLINGTON £565,611.53
K & J Walker PH16 PITLOCHRY £600,768.71
Kevan Forsyth DG8 NEWTON STEWART £577,884.01 Dairy farmers in Dumfries and galloway. Claimed £473,929 in 2014/15.
Moray Estates Development Co IV36 FORRES £644,106. 19 John Stuart, 21st Earl of Moray, claimed £661,579 in 2014/15. Owns about 28,000 acres including 18 farms let to 16 tenants.
Mr A J Duncan (A Firm) AB53 TURRIFF £575,060.21 Ex Grampian Foods owner Claimed £565,650 in 2014/15
Mrs E V McCorquodale Trs PH2 PERTH £706,751.28
Novar Farms IV16 DINGWALL £755,103.23
Pitcastle Estate Management PH1 PERTH £551,496.32
Quality Meat Scotland EH28 Newbridge £507,060.58
Ross Bros AB43 FRASERBURGH £978,076.03 Large family owned business Claimed £978076 in 2014/15
Scottish Borders Council SRDP TD6 Newtown Bos £529,658.81
Soil Association EH12 EDINBURGH £526,616.46
SRUC/SAC Commercial Ltd AB21 BUCKSBURN £622,553.37 Claimed £412432.53p in 2014/15 Farms run by the Rural College
Strathdee Properties Ltd AB38 ABERLOUR £852,900.58 Owned by Stephen Strathdee, Claimed £976,917 in 2014/15.
The Church Commissioners For England DG1 DUMFRIES £649,987.98
The Woodland Trust PH2 PERTH £861,182.61
Torsa Holdings Ltd IV3 INVERNESS £876,006.69
Valley Fields (Scotland) DG4 SANQUHAR £518,791.88 Farm in Dumfies. Claimed £487,961 in 2014/15
William Hamilton And Son (No 2) KY15 CUPAR £692,816.62 Claimed £692,816 in 2014/15.
Support in Excess of £250K (117)
A Macgregor(Allanfauld) G65 GLASGOW £266,295.14
Andrew B. Young KA26 GIRVAN £296,724.52
Andrew C Smith IV2 INVERNESS £399,979.58
Auchencheyne Ltd DG3 THORNHILL £408,690.54
Aucheneck Estate G63 GLASGOW £281,834.26
Auchmacoy Estate AB41 ELLON £372,293.27
Auchtydore Farms AB42 PETERHEAD £340,550.19
B Q Farms Ltd. DG3 THORNHILL £292,614.19
Backmuir Trading Ltd AB55 BANFFSHIRE £451,457.60
Balbirnie Home Farms KY15 CUPAR £258,820.66
Balcaskie Farms KY10 ANSTRUTHER £294,706.39
Balgreggan Farms Ltd DG9 STRANRAER £310,045.07
Balnaboth Home Farm DD8 KIRRIEMUIR £442,333.57
Baltier Farming Company Ltd DG8 NEWTON STEWART £433,694.67
Barstobrick Farms DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £251,631.32
Belcher Food Products Ltd KA9 Prestwick £250,079.00
Benson Wemyss Farms EH32 Longniddry £255,624.34
Birsay Community Association KW17 ORKNEY £288,426.77
Blackford Farms Ltd FK15 DUNBLANE £252,633.53
Blacklidge Brothers PR6 Chorley £271,131.21
BQ Farming Partnerships Ltd TD7 SELKIRK £325,210.34
Braegrudie Common Grazings IV27 Lairg £455,651.40
Buccleuch Estates Ltd DG3 THORNHILL £390,820.71 Scotland’s largest private landowner,Richard Scott,the 10th Duke of Buccleuch,routinely claims around £400K. Company value £85Million..
Burghill Farms DD9 BRECHIN £315,597.64
C & S Adams DG9 STRANRAER £387,116.82
Cadzow Bros PA34 OBAN £323,893.54
Careston Ltd DD9 BRECHIN £262,856.69
Charles M Kirkpatrick DG11 Lockerbie £330,990.95
Clan Donald Land Trust PH33 FORT WILLIAM£ £305,727.73
Conagleann Ltd t/a Dunmaglass Estate DD9 BRECHIN £381,778.87
Conon Brae Farms IV7 DINGWALL £350,919.53
Craigton IV20 TAIN £250,098.91
Crochmore Farms Limited DG2 DUMFRIES £329,887.10
Culfargie Estates Ltd PH1 BALBEGGIE £258,680.83
D R F Farmers Ltd AB43 FRASERBURGH £455,712.44 Claimed £455,712 in 2014/15
Dalhanna Farming Company DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £268,660.72
Dalmahoy Farms EH27 KIRKNEWTON £365,143.43
Des J Donohoe PH1 PERTH £346,455.01
Dindinnie Farming Co DG9 STRANRAER £375,329.03
Drummuir Home Farms AB55 KEITH £324,147.76
Dunecht Home Farms AB32 WESTHILL £435,616.34
Dunlossit (Farming) Ltd PA45 ISLE OF ISLAY £325,579.98
F Laing PH26 MORAYSHIRE £376,214.50
Fersness Farms KW17 ORKNEY £286,391.66
Firm Of Ardtornish Farms PA80 OBAN £264,412.58
Firm of John G Hamilton EH42 DUNBAR £400,986.88
Firm Of Peter Alexander PH10 BLAIRGOWRIE £317,887.47
Floors Farming TD5 KELSO £296,482.70
G Mcdougal (Bassendean)Ltd TD3 GORDON £323,977.62
Glenapp Estate Company Ltd KA26 GIRVAN £396,238.87
Glencorse Association EH26 Penicuik £387,806.96
Glenkiln Farms DG2 DUMFRIES £282,363.64
Glenrath Egg Products Ltd EH46 West Linton £381,876.00
Glenrinnes Farms Limited AB55 DUFFTOWN £315,699.68
Grahams the Family Dairy FK9 BRIDGE OF ALLAN £251,239.30 Claimed £471,821 in 2014/15
Greenshields Agri Ltd TD11 DUNS £269,463.58
Hawk Farming Ltd FK16 DOUNE £351,031.06
Iain Service & Co Ltd DG8 NEWTON STEWART £374,961.10
IAN WHITE LTD PH2 PERTH £389,233.27 Livestock breeder. Claimed £375,271 in 2014/15
Innishewan Farms EH26 PENICUIK £286,117.32
J C Innes & Sons AB54 HUNTLY £424,531.11 Claimed £455,712 in 2014/15
J P Campbell & Sons EH45 PEEBLES £348,194.87
J R Graham Ltd KY14 AUCHTERMUCHTY £487,327.33
James Forbes PH16 PITLOCHRY £252,139.45
James H Fowlie ( A Firm ) AB43 FRASERBURGH £401,331.85
John A Wallace & Sons DG8 NEWTON STEWART £257,713.43
John C Forbes-Leith PH2 PERTH £281,992.25
John C McIntosh AB21 ABERDEEN £441,636.85
John W McEwen & Son G63 GLASGOW £257,207.78
John Watson AB43 FRASERBURGH £278,749.59
John Wight & Sons ML12 ABINGTON £299,928.96
Kingsbarns Company Of Distillers KY10 Anstruther £252,156.00
Klondyke Farms Limited DG3 THORNHILL £382,434.94
L G Litchfield Bowland Farms TD1 GALASHIELS £404,513.54
Langholm Farms Ltd TD7 SELKIRK £380,679.45
Linlithgow Farms Ltd ML11 LANARK £320,504.39
Lour Farms DD8 FORFAR £299,271.17
Luss Estates Company G83 ARDEN £266,473.34
M & M Dudgeon KW8 SUTHERLAND £330,542.99
M/S A S & H M McGimpsey DG12 ANNAN £288,634.44
M/S John Stevenson & Co KY10 ANSTRUTHER £251,690.55
Macfarlane Farms Ltd TD11 DUNS £294,049.18
Malcolm Allan Ltd FK5 LARBERT £390,000.00
Mansionhouse Farm FK15 BRACO £256,410.11
MBM Farms Ltd KW1 WICK £297,687.44
Messrs A & J Craig DG7 CASTLE DOUGLAS £275,624.59
Messrs D G & J D Walker DG4 SANQUHAR £270,540.64
MESSRS GRAY & DALE DD11 ARBROATH £475,344.06
Messrs J Swanson KW14 THURSO £260,516.32
Messrs R & B Dickie DG4 SANQUHAR £329,657.20
Messrs S & J Fisher DG13 LANGHOLM £269,140.22
MR J D PATERSON KA27 SLIDDERY £293,268.23
Mr R McBride & Son DG1 DUMFRIES £274,391.10
Mr W J Henderson & Sons DG2 DUMFRIES £294,389.75
Ms E J Mackenzie & Co IV19 Ross-Shire £354,610.86
N Forsyth & Son DG8 NEWTON STEWART £299,104.20
Norman Thow & Partners AB30 LAURENCEKIRK £309,802.25
Old Cullen Farms AB56 Buckie £267,270.39
OLD HALL FARMS DG9 STRANRAER £401,173.37
Ordens Farms Ltd AB45 BANFF £261,091.96
Pat Wilson Farms PH1 ALMONDBANK £319,382.34
Perthshire Farms PH2 £402,561.05
R & J McDonald TD11 DUNS £276,383.15
Rottal Estates Partnership DD8 KIRRIEMUIR £283,956.04
Southesk Farms DD9 BRECHIN £308,234.51
Strathmore Farming Company DD8 FORFAR £354,520.35
T D Girvan & Sons IV63 GLENMORISTON £286,663.10
T W & T B Edgar Limited TD5 KELSO £290,977.81
THE ARDNAMURCHAN ESTATE. IV30 PLUSCARDEN £262,589.18
The Firm of Innerwick PH1 PERTH£ £276,240.81
The National Trust For Scotland EH11 EDINBURGH £462,693.71
The Rosebery Estate Partnership EH30 SOUTH Q/FERRY £348,235.88 Lord and Lady Rosberry Claimed £390,557 in 2014/15. Recently sold a Turner painting for 20million.
The Talla Farming Partnership TD1 GALASHIELS £315,732.88
Trustees of Cawdor Marriage IV12 NAIRN £311,234.23
W & A Oag KW14 THURSO £272,841.76
Welbeck Scottish Farms Ltd KW7 BERRIEDALE £350,731.21
WHS Hotts DG11 LOCKERBIE £291,629.98
Scotland: 17847 Payments: £609,965,556.45p Scottish results do not include payments to the Royal Family
England: 86139 Payments: £1,953,454,147.31p
Wales: 14271 Payments: £281,644,359.43p
N.Ireland: 24282 Payments: £315,484,690.68p
Total £3.2Billion Approx