NFU Scotland (NFUS) has called for Scottish agricultural support arrangements to be excluded from a new UK approach to subsidy control.
The union made the comments in response to a UK Government consultation on plans for a subsidy control system, which aims to ensure subsidies support government priorities, protect the UK internal market, and are in line with international commitments.
NFUS director of policy, Jonnie Hall, said the union was concerned the plans could potentially impact on agricultural policy development and implementation in Scotland.
“Agricultural policy is devolved, and that should not be eroded via a backdoor of UK-wide subsidy control measures,” said Mr Hall.
“We fully accept that, in the context of the UK’s internal market, devolved support arrangements must not distort competition or trade within the UK. NFU Scotland is clear that the integrity of the UK internal market must not be undermined by excessive divergence in support payments.”
He said there were already safeguards in place, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement on agriculture, to prevent subsidy support scheme distorting competition or trade.
“As a result, NFU Scotland is unequivocal that agricultural and rural development financial support must be kept separate from the subsidy control regime being proposed,” added Mr Hall.