Farm support review good for industry, predict region's MPs

Two south west Scotland MPs have urged the region's farmers to embrace positive changes in the support system should they emerge after Brexit.

Both Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack and his Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale colleague David Mundell say a recently announced review by independent experts was aimed at providing a structure best reflecting Scottish circumstances.

The UK Government appointed panel have been asked to look at what factors should determine the distribution of funding between Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Led by Lord Bew of Donegore, the group will recommend how convergence money should be fairly split across the four home nations for the remainder of the present parliament once the UK leaves the Common Agricultural Policy (CAB).

Ministers say the panel will consider environmental, agricultural and socio-economic factors together with farm numbers and sizes.

The region's MPs have rejected opposition claims the route map to an independent UK farm subsidy system lacks clarity.

Alister Jack, who was instrumental in securing a review, said: "To make the most of Brexit we must design a system which more accurately reflects agriculture across the UK -- not influenced to an extent by mainland Europe circumstances -- and this is our opportunity.

"This in-depth review should be good news going forward for farmers and consumers."

David Mundell, who is also Scottish Secretary, pointed out that the Government had already guaranteed the same cash total for farm support in all parts of the UK until 2022.

He said: "This review is an opportunity to ensure the challenges Scotland's unique landscape brings are fully recognised in future farm support allocations.

"Under present arrangements, Scotland receives twice as much money for farming support than might be expected were the Barnett formula alone to be used."