Ensuring the voice of rural business in Scotland is heard during Brexit is an immediate priority, Scottish Land & Estates has said.
The organisation, which represents land-based businesses, farmers and landowners across Scotland, has reacted to this week’s Scottish Parliament debate on Brexit which coincided with the publication of Scottish Land & Estates’ joint paper with the CLA on the impact of exiting the European on the devolved nations.
Scottish Land & Estates said that whilst the very nature of exit from the European was still unclear, it was vital that Scottish interests were taken account of given contrasting outlooks about how rural policy will be developed, post-Brexit.
David Johnstone, chairman of Scottish Land & Estates, said: “With Brexit there will be a need to develop a clear and fair funding policy that will replace the support for farming and policy currently provided through the European .
“Whilst the very nature of our exit from the EU is blurred – and is likely to remain unclear in the near future - it is certain that this is one area of policy where our domestic governments will need to develop a new framework to assist food production and other sectors such as forestry.
“From the comments during the debate in the Scottish Parliament earlier this week, there is a divergence of views on how we should progress the immediate steps on Brexit. For rural businesses, which are the backbone of Scotland’s countryside economies, they need immediate certainty that Scottish Ministers have a seat at the table and can argue for the specific interests of Scotland’s rural sector.
“We believe that cooperation will be needed at a UK level to ensure that no nation or region is disadvantaged any future arrangement. It is our belief that a UK framework will need to be created, similar to what exists via the EU at the moment, to ensure support and trade is balanced and fair across the nations. If this framework is accepted as the best opportunity moving forward, we need the devolved administrations to play their part in its conception.”
In the new briefing paper, Scottish Land & Estates and the CLA are asking Scottish and Welsh Ministers to prioritise the following steps over the next few months:
- Contribute to a food, farming and environment policy framework at the UK level
- Respect devolution within an overarching framework
- Develop a fair and transparent funding structure
- Enhance collaboration between government and industry
- Develop a strategic approach to the rural economy and land use
To read the briefing paper visit www.scottishlandandestates.co.uk.