Scottish minister demands equal Brexit beef package

Rachel Martin and Sylvester Phelan

The Scottish Rural Affairs Minister has called for the UK government to demand that the EU matches funding given to help Irish beef producers in the beef package agreed by member states today, Thursday, June 20.

Speaking this morning at a breakfast for producers at the Highland Show, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Fergus Ewing said:

“The situation facing the beef sector at the moment is pretty serious and I am well aware of those problems.

“Now they have to contend with a new development – namely, that watching over the water in Ireland, the Irish industry is getting €50 million off its Government fighting for that money from the EU.

So what I want to ask is: Where is Britain’s compensation scheme?

“The Irish have gone to the European Commission and, with the help of the commissioner, they have secured a compensation package of €50 million.

“Okay, they have to match it and there are strings attached which may not be that congenial to the farmers in Ireland.

“But be that as it may, the Irish Government has fought for this compensation package.

I have already written to Michael Gove to say that in Britain, we should get together and amass a case for a compensation package – and one where we can decide where the money is best deployed to ensure that the actual farmers benefit therefrom.

“So this is a serious piece of work – it’s underway and I will be pressing Michael Gove on Monday to ask him why the UK government is not doing what Ireland has done when it is manifestly clear there is a real problem facing beef farmers at the moment.”