NFU Scotland has met with various parties to look at trying to firm up an independent review
Over the next few weeks NFU Scotland will be pushing to get terms of reference for a robust review into the distribution of the UK’s convergence dividend firmed up.
Encouraging meetings have taken place this week where NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller and Director of Policy Jonnie Hall met with Under-Secretary of State David Mundell MP and Deputy Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Secretary of State Alistair Carmichael MP on Monday.
Priorities for the Union over the coming weeks and months is to get the terms of reference for CAP firmed up, and to map out how an independent review group would work.
It also hopes that some of the issues raised by both the Scottish Government and Defra will be looked at to see if a modification of budget envelopes in the UK can be blocked during 2015 to 2020.
NFU Scotland has organised a meeting with the European Commission and Alyn Smith MEP in December at which point we will seek to clarify that a Member State should pursue convergence along similar lines to the EU approach across Members States.
Earlier this week Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP led a debate in Westminster Hall on CAP convergence, which received cross-party support from other Scottish MPs. Commenting, NFU Scotland’s President Nigel Miller said: “It has been useful to see continued dialogue with the Lib Dems and the Conservatives at Westminster. It is vital that we weld together cross-party consensus in support of an independent review to ensure that the process goes live in 2016 even if the political environment changes.
“Over the next few weeks it is important that we ensure that our terms of reference and independent review process is secured while limitations on changing budget allocations during the phase 2017 to 2020 have to be bottomed out on the EU Commission. “We will be trying to manoeuvre the pressure and detail over a matter of weeks.”
It is almost inconceivable to land Commission convergence plans before we know the number of hectares and payments in the various regions.
“We had positive dialogue with Mr Carmichael and Mr Mundell and both of them are committed to making an independent review work, and to firm up the terms of reference. It is important to try and get a real review process in place.”