At Departmental Questions for DEFRA (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) today, Luke Graham MP called on the SNP devolved administration at Holyrood to drop their opposition to Scotland being in the UK Agriculture Bill.
This has been an issue Mr Graham has campaigned on since it was made clear the SNP had chosen to exclude Scotland from the Bill.
Responding to the Question, George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, stated:
“There is an open offer from the Government to add… Scotland at a later stage of this Bill, if they what to.
The Scottish Government have the power to act in this space and they need to make their mind up what they want to do.”
Although the UK Government offered at the introduction of the Bill for Scotland to be included, the SNP has repeatedly refused. Despite this, there were no provisions for agriculture included in the SNP’s ‘Programme for Government’.
The Agriculture Bill is crucial for ensuring farmers, and the wider agriculture industry, receive the support payments they are due after Brexit has been completed in March next year.
The Agriculture Bill, which will ensure continuity of farm and rural payments for farmers until 2024, replacing the existing EU CAP payments, currently only covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Commenting after Questions, Luke Graham MP said:
“It is extremely disappointing to see the SNP unmoved by the position they have put our farmers in, through their refusal and belligerence over the Agriculture Bill.
This Bill is crucial to ensuring farmers continue to receive their direct & support payments beyond Brexit until 2024, so to see our farmers abandoned by the SNP like this, is deeply concerning for those of us who are concerned about the plight of our farmers over this issue. I will not allow farmers and rural communities in my constituency to suffer at the hands of SNP nationalism, and will act with other Scottish MPs to amend the bill to protect our farmers if need be.
The SNP obsession with independence is no excuse for the huge damage their actions will do to the Agriculture industry.”