No progress on status of agriculture and fishing after Brexit, says Ewing

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There has been no progress in arrangements for agricultural, fishing and environmental industries post-Brexit, according to Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary.

Fergus Ewing was speaking after a devolved administration meeting with UK ministers in London on Monday.

He said s upport for agricultural and fishing 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 Scottish and UK governments have clashed repeatedly over Brexit, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently writing to Prime Minister Theresa May seeking ”urgent clarity” on plans for transitional arrangements.

Mr 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 Joint Ministerial Committee.

“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.”

A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We want to make sure decisions which should be taken in Scotland are taken in Scotland, as in Northern Ireland and Wales, but in some areas there will be a need for a UK approach to protect the integrity of the UK single market and not put up new barriers to trade.

“Across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we have a shared interest in protecting our environment and delivering a Green Brexit.”

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