The Scottish Government’s unveiling of a post-Brexit scenario in which Scotland remains part of the European Single Market (ESM) and the EU Customs Union, whatever happens in the rest of the UK, has been described as “technically and politically challenging” by NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive, Scott Walker.
The plan outlined yesterday in Edinburgh by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, is obviously more complex than its ESM headline point, including the demand for any post-Brexit “repatriation” of agricultural policy to the UK from Brussels to then be handed on by the UK Government to be the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Walker, in his response, commented that there is now a clear battle going on with regards to agricultural policy and where the power to make decisions should reside. He also highlights the fact that the really big question for Scottish farmers concerns what money will go along with the newly repatriated powers, irrespective of which government actually holds the purse strings.
“At the end of the day funding will be critical,” he said. “Powers without an appropriate level of funding offers little benefit. Of course, a UK agricultural policy with money but not the flexibility that we require to support productive agriculture in Scotland would also be useless.”
So, have we gained any more clarity from yesterday’s announcement?
“Not yet.” said Mr Walker. “What we do have is an interesting set of proposals that need to be carefully considered and their ramifications thought through.”