Scots and Welsh seek assurances on farm funding

Farm leaders in Scotland and Wales are seeking further guarantees following a Westminster government pledge that agricultural will be fairly funded after Brexit.

It comes after Defra secretary Michael Gove promised that funding for agriculture in the devolved nations will not be set using the Barnett Formula after the UK leaves the EU.

The Barnett Formula is the mechanism used by the UK government to allocate public spending according to the population size in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

See also: Under fire – Gove’s Brexit plan for agriculture

Agricultural funding is not decided using the formula – if it was, the devolved nations would receive about half the money than they do now.

Mr Gove used the second reading of the Agriculture Bill on Wednesday (10 October) to guaranteed that agricultural funding will not be “Barnettised” post Brexit.

This meant the “rightly generous settlement” that Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales currently receive would be defended, he said.

NFU Scotland political affairs manager Claire Slipper said the statement went some way in flushing out the intentions of the UK government on future funding frameworks.


“This is the first time that a UK minister has said on the record that future agricultural funding allocations will be ringfenced to agricultural spend,” she said.

“But the question remains, where will that funding settlement be set?

NFU Cymru president John Davies said also welcomed confirmation that the Barnett Formula will not be used to apportion future agricultural funding.

But Mr Davies said more detail was needed on the terms of reference for the independent review to be launched by the UK Government into future funding.

He added: “It is absolutely critical that Wales secures a funding arrangement that is reflective of the type of agriculture and the relative importance of the sector to the economy in Wales.”

Funding review

Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) president Glyn Roberts said: “This is most welcome news and provides some guarantee on future funding for Welsh agriculture.

“Wales would lose around half of its rural funding if allocated through the Barnett Formula.

“This announcement has been long awaited and I am pleased to see that the FUW’s lobbying on not Barnettising Welsh rural funding, as part of the #FairFarmFunding campaign, has been successful.

“We now look forward to working with the UK Government to generate a future farming funding programme that suits the needs of family farms in Wales, that are so vital to the rural economy.

“As we have made clear since the EU Referendum and as promised by key Brexiteers, the budget for Welsh agriculture must be maintained at at least current levels.”