COMMONS

Committee questions Ministers on implications of Agriculture Bill for Scotland

30 October 2018

The Scottish Affairs Committee holds two evidence sessions on 30 and 31 October to consider the applicability and implications of the Agriculture Bill for Scotland. The Committee hears initially from stakeholders in the agriculture sector and then from the Scottish and UK Government Ministers.

Agriculture Bill

The Agriculture Bill, currently being considered by a Public Bill Committee in Westminster, seeks to establish a framework for agricultural policy after Brexit. The UK and Scottish Governments have clashed over the Bill, with Scotland claiming that it “rides roughshod over the devolved settlement”[1] and the UK suggesting that Scotland had rejected its “open offer”[2] of powers to create a support system for farmers. The Bill does provide power for Wales and Northern Ireland.

Purpose of the sessions

In the first evidence session, the Scottish Affairs Committee will hear about the implications of the Agriculture Bill from a range of witnesses from the Scottish agricultural sector, including representatives from National Farmers Union Scotland and the Scottish Crofting Federation, on whether an agriculture support system which focused on payment for public goods would work in Scotland. The Committee will then question the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Ferus Ewing MSP, on the devolution dispute surrounding the Bill and the scope for Scottish policy to diverge from that of the UK.

The following day, the Committee will question UK Agriculture Minister George Eustice MP on the absence of powers for Scotland within the Bill, scope for policy divergence and the UK wide restriction on subsidies to meet the UK’s WTO obligations.

Witnesses

Thursday 30 October 2018, Thatcher Room

At 1.15pm

Panel 1

  • Vicki Swales, RSPB/Environment LINK Scotland
  • John Kinnaird, National Council of Rural Advisers 
  • Jonnie Hall, National Farmers Union Scotland
  • Russell Smith, Scottish Crofting Federation

Panel 2

  • Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy

Wednesday 31 October, Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster

At 3.30pm

  • George Eustice MP, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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