The Role of the Inquiry
The remit of the Inquiry will be to make recommendations to the Scottish Government on how financial support to agriculture and rural development can best be tailored to incentivise delivery of the Scottish Government's purpose of sustainable economic growth, and in particular of its vision for thriving agricultural and rural sectors based on natural resource productivity, in a world increasingly recognising the need to address the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The recommendations will, in particular, cover the following areas:
- how Pillar 1 funds (i.e. the Single Farm Payment in Scotland) might be best distributed in future, for example between regions of Scotland and/or land types, in order to contribute to the Government's purpose and vision;.
- the conditions to be attached to Pillar 1 payments in the future to secure public benefits commensurate with those payments, and the relationship with the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme;
- the link between payment levels and farming activity;
- the situation of agricultural holdings currently outside the Single Farm Payment system, and new entrants to farming;
- how to address the risk of a smaller Single Farm Payment budget for Scotland after 2013, taking into account the generally-held expectation of severe pressure on that part of the EU budget;
- the future balance between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the CAP in Scotland, including the role of support for transformational change to agricultural businesses, for collaboration, and for engagement between businesses in the different stages of the production chain;
- Scottish priorities in future negotiations with the United Kingdom authorities and at EU level.
The recommendations should be in line with the National Food and Drink Policy, which supports the sustainable economic growth of Scotland's food and drink industries by emphasising quality, health and wellbeing and environmental sustainability while recognising the need for access to affordable, nutritious food for all.
The Inquiry will take account of the large proportion of land in Scotland which is within the Less Favoured Area classification; the particular role played by the grazing livestock sector; and the important contribution which responsible land management can make to the condition of our natural environment and the economic and tourism benefits which that provides. In making its recommendations, the Inquiry will take into account the operational feasibility and administrative costs associated with them, and the desirability of reducing costs and complexity not justified by outcomes.
The Inquiry will take evidence from relevant stakeholders and from published statistics and reports. It will draw upon relevant research including the findings of the Rural Land Use Study, due to report in late 2009. It may also draw on information and experiences from other countries. Analytical support for the Inquiry will be provided by Scottish Government resources, as will its secretariat. The Inquiry will be able to apply to use the Government's contracting system to commission further analytical work if necessary.
The Inquiry will produce a report by Easter 2010 and an interim report by December 2009.