Return farm powers to devolved administrations, say peers

Powers over farming should return direct to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – rather than being temporarily retained in Westminster, say peers.

The recommendation is made in a report by the House of Lords EU committee which says Brexit poses a “fundamental challenge” to the future of the UK.

Responsibility for implementing the EU CAP in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is currently devolved to those countries’ administrations at Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont.

See also: EU farm rules to be retained post Brexit

The UK government wants any powers returned from Brussels after Brexit retained in Westminster rather than going straight back to the devolved administrations.

It argues that replicating the framework provided by EU rules at a UK level would provide the “greatest level of legal and administrative certainty” post Brexit.


But the House of Lords report says any attempt to use Brexit to “re-reserve” powers previously devolved could add to instability within the UK.

“This is not the time to embark on controversial amendments to the devolution settlements,” says the committee’s report, published on Wednesday (19 July).

“We therefore believe that the existing statutory balance of competences between the UK parliament and the devolved legislatures should as far as possible be unchanged.”

Brexit makes it more important than ever that any further reform of the devolution settlements should be underpinned by a clear and agreed framework, says the report.

And it calls on the UK government and the devolved governments to work constructively together to deliver a Brexit that protects the interests of all parts of the UK.

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