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Brexit talks

Published: 6 Nov 2017 17:42

"We will not sign a blank cheque."

Support for agricultural, fishing and environmental priorities in Scotland is being put at risk due to the UK Government’s continued failure to provide certainty over the future of EU funding.

The stark warning was issued by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, following a Devolved Administration meeting with UK Ministers in London.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, said:

“Despite positive talks with Ministers, the UK Government has failed to enable real progress to be made on the approach agreed by the JMC. Worse, UK DEFRA Ministers tried to amend that process which they know full well has the highest support of all our governments.

“The Scottish Government remains steadfast in its resolve to defend the devolution settlement. We will not sign a blank cheque that expects us to sign up to potential post Brexit frameworks and legislation without knowing any of the detail of those. We will not put the future of our agriculture, fishing and environment sectors at risk.

“For 18 months we have sought to engage openly and constructively with the UK Government over some of the most important issues facing our rural economy and natural environment. UK Ministers have yet to provide absolute clarity on future funding which prevents us and the sectors to plan for the future, nor have they given us sight of their proposed bills on agriculture and fisheries. 

“Until the power grab is removed from the EU Withdrawal Bill, we can continue to have cordial discussions but little progress will be made."