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C.A.P & Scotland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

CAP and Scotland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020

 

 

Richard Lochead MSP Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs sought an all-party backing for his calls on the UK Government for a fairer budget deal and agreement on the draft CAP regulations, which should pave the way for the release of implementing regulations and which should allow Scottish government to push forward with the detail of implementation in Scotland.

Concluding his speech the Cabinet Secretary sought the acknowledgement of his efforts from his colleagues within the debating chamber. The announcement was met with a series of opposing positions and lodged amendments. Not quite what he had hoped… The chamber retired to reflect on the Scottish government’s position and the various proposed amendments ahead of the necessary vote.

Decision Time

The Scottish Labour amendment was disagreed to (For 19, Against 61, Abstentions 27)

The Scottish Liberal Democrat amendment was disagreed to (For 19, Against 62, Abstentions 26)

The Government motion was agreed (For 61, Against 46, Abstentions 0)

Motion agreed to,

That the Parliament notes the importance of the EU common agricultural policy (CAP) for underpinning productive agriculture, delivering environmental and other public benefits and supporting rural development; notes that the EU reached an agreement on a new CAP and welcomes the Scottish Government's success in negotiating provisions that meet Scotland's needs on new entrants, active farming and increased flexibilities; looks forward to the Scottish Government's future public consultations on implementing the new CAP in Scotland; notes that, as a member state, Scotland would have qualified for increased Pillar 1 payments worth ?1 billion extra up to 2020 and been able to negotiate improved Pillar 2 rural funding; deplores the budget deal negotiated by the UK Government, which failed to address Scotland's unacceptably low CAP funding, and calls on the UK Government to deliver a fair deal for Scotland through the UK's allocation of CAP funds, including the full external convergence uplift to Scotland.

The European Commission partially justifies the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with the CAP’s contribution to ‘viable rural communities’. Maintaining viable rural communities was one of the three strategic aims for the CAP set out in the Commission’s Communication on the CAP towards 2020 in November 2010. It was justified in the following terms:

“To maintain viable rural communities, for whom farming is an important economic activity creating local employment; this delivers multiple economic, social, environmental and territorial benefits”

Agriculture is an integral part of our economy and society. In terms of indirect effects, any significant cut back in farming activity would in turn generate losses in GDP and jobs in linked economic sectors – notably within the agri-food supply chain, which relies on the agricultural sector for high quality, competitive and reliable raw material inputs, as well as in non-food sectors. Rural activities, from tourism, transport, to local and public services would also be affected. Depopulation in rural areas would probably accelerate. There would therefore be important environmental and social consequences.

As the arguments surrounding capping and degressivity, external convergence, transferring funds between pillars and co-funding rates rage on, the Scottish Countryside Alliance will continue our work to ensure that the income derived for the SRDP, however poor, benefits all of Scotland’s rural communities fairly. 

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