The Conservatives have accused the SNP of “putting nationalism before farming” by snubbing an offer to extend powers in the UK Government’s post-Brexit agriculture plan.
The UK Government offered to extend powers in the Agriculture Bill to enable devolved administrations to develop their own subsidy systems when the UK is removed from EU agricultural support following Brexit.
Wales and Northern Ireland took up the offer but the Scottish Government did not.
This decision not to follow other devolved administrations is simply a case of putting nationalism before the interests of agriculture
The Scottish Conservatives claim the decision put nationalist interests ahead of concern for the future of farming but the SNP said the Tories were attempting to grab powers and cash from Scotland.
Scottish Conservative rural economy spokesman Donald Cameron said: “The SNP are simply creating further uncertainty and confusion for Scotland’s farmers and crofters.
“This decision not to follow other devolved administrations is simply a case of putting nationalism before the interests of agriculture.
“The short-sighted refusal of the SNP to include Scotland in the UK Agriculture Bill will mean that Scotland’s farmers are left behind in comparison to those in Wales, Northern Ireland and England.”
He claimed the Scottish Government has put forward no “substantive policy” for future farming support.
A spokesman for Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We will take no lectures from the Tories – they are the ones proposing to take direct payments away from Scotland’s farmers and crofters.
“The reality is the SNP Government has the most detailed proposals to provide stability and certainty for farmers post-Brexit of any government in the UK, but the Tories are engaged not just in a power grab but also a cash grab.
“The power grab could see them open the way for the likes of hormone-injected beef and chlorinated chicken, to secure a Trump trade deal, while the cash grab threatens seeing our farmers and crofters short-changed.
“The idea that Holyrood should give consent to such measures drives a coach and horses through the principles of devolution – and we won’t stand for it.”