Divide between Scottish and English agriculture grows
The gap between agricultural policy could grow on either side of the Scottish border post-2024, as England moved towards environmental payments while Scotland was set to retain the ‘known quantity’ of the Basic Payment Scheme.
Presenting this year’s Andersons Outlook report, Richard King, the company’s head of business research, said Scottish farmers knew one of their key sources of income was here to stay until 2024.
But it was uncertain whether Government would have agriculture ‘at the top of the list’ as the economy recovered.
And it was possible Scottish policy after 2024 could follow the EU model, rather than England’s, according to David Siddle, director of Andersons Northern.
“If so, there could be more devolution and a bigger gap in what happens north and south of the border,” he said.
The end of the EU transition period also presented challenges, with Mr King warning labour costs could be driven up further in horticulture, leaving many unable to carry on.
He added Brexit was a driver for the sheep industry but it could also impact beef.
Tariffs on Irish beef could make it unable to compete but Mr King said the danger came from Brazil, where production costs were so low they could undercut British produce in spite of the tariffs.
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