UK farming unions lobby on post-Brexit funds

Farming unions join together to lobby for funding
Farming unions join together to lobby for funding

The farming unions from Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland say it is essential that all devolved governments guarantee that Treasury funds are spent on agriculture as announced.

Following the announcement by Chancellor Phillip Hammond that Government would commit to honour EU agricultural funding until 2020, the four union presidents pledged to continue their joint lobbying to promote the importance of UK food and farming against a backdrop of intense competition for public spending post-Brexit.

Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell welcomed the statement.

“The UK Government’s guarantee means that farmers are able to continue to fulfil their role of providing high quality food, produced to exacting welfare and environmental standards,” he said.

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “This guarantee of domestic agricultural budget through to the end of 2020 provides vital assurance to farm businesses during the uncertainty of political negotiation and market volatility. We are also pleased that we have been given some clarity on how agri-environmental funding sits within this and will work with government on how this is developed long-term.”

NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie added: “We know that each devolved administration is facing significant spending pressure, however the Chancellor has been clear – he expects each of the devolved governments to use the money for agriculture. This is the clear intention for which the money has been guaranteed.

Finally, NFU Cymru president Stephen James said the announcement “buys time to build a clear path for agricultural policy beyond the point the UK leaves the EU”.