Farming unions have dismissed suggestions that Common Agricultural Policy funding should be redistributed within the UK countries as “distracting”.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyons suggested that EU proposals allowing CAP funding to be re-distributed between member states be extended to apply within the UK itself.
In particular, he suggested that some funding be moved from farmers in Northern Ireland to support Scottish farmers.
Ulster Farmers’ Union president John Thompson said: “I completely reject George Lyons’ divisive argument that funding should be redistributed from Northern Ireland to Scotland.
“If he believes Scotland needs additional funding his focus should be on going to the EU to seek additional funding, not trying to pinch it from his neighbour. CAP funding is an absolutely vital income stream for our local farms and it simply isn’t an option to strip funding from one region of the UK to another.”
Scott Walker, policy director at NFU Scotland, said: “The argument on how Pillar 1 support is distributed in the UK is a complete distraction and is not helpful as we seek flexibility in future support scheme rules to support active agriculture.
“Instead of fighting among ourselves, there is a need for all parts of the UK to unite to ensure the UK gets a fair share of Pillar 2 money. That is something all the UK farming unions are working together on.”