AHEAD of the UK Spending Review, the devolved administrations have written again collectively to the UK Government calling for assurances that all lost EU funding will be fully replaced to provide certainty for the rural economy.
In the letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths MS, and Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots MLA, repeated their request for UK Government to make good on its commitment to UK farmers that they will not lose out as a result of leaving the EU and also demanded engagement with the devolved administrations.
Welsh Government Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “We have always been clear Wales should not lose a penny as a result of leaving the European Union. The UK Government are failing in their manifesto commitment to provide full replacement funding and their proposed approach will disproportionately impact on Wales. Unless we get an urgent reconsideration from the Treasury, our farmers and rural communities will lose out on over £200m. This can and must be avoided at all costs and I urge the UK Government to keep to their promise and provide certainty to our farming communities.”
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP said: “The UK Government’s lack of engagement with the devolved administrations about future funding is unacceptable. They appear to be reneging on their public commitments as it now appears that at this late hour farmers and rural communities across the four nations are to be financially penalised by Brexit and we are not prepared to accept that. We have repeatedly asked for clarity and certainty but this seems to fall on deaf ears and time is running out. The UK Government is refusing to respect the devolved administrations and has broken a commitment by not engaging with us as equals in decisions on the allocation of funding that will ultimately affect us all.”
Northern Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots MLA said: “I have pressed time and time again for clarity and to seek confidence from the UK Government that it will stand firm on its commitment to protect people in rural communities and farmers in Northern Ireland from unnecessary financial hardships. It is simply intolerable to even contemplate a future where the devolved administrations are at a disadvantage. We are now in the final hours before the spending review is announced and the clock is ticking – loudly in our ears. The UK Government must recognise its responsibility to engage in a meaningful way with us and to ensure that funding is allocated, not just in a way that is fair and right, but in the way that the Government committed to doing so.”