Making social science accessible

25 Jan 2018

The repatriation of competences in agriculture after Brexit

A number of key competences are currently devolved within the United Kingdom but subject to European law and regulation. There is an argument over what will happen to these after Brexit. The EU Withdrawal Bill proposed that the powers come back to Westminster as part of ‘retained EU law’. Some could subsequently be released to the devolved governments. These would continue to enjoy as much policy freedom as they do currently under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Scottish and Welsh Governments have opposed this on constitutional and practical grounds. Agreement has now been reached on the need for some common UK frameworks but not on what form these should take.

This paper reviews the current scope and practice of policy divergence and convergence under the CAP. It examines the issues over which common policies and harmonization might be needed. These depend to a great extent on future trade agreements with the EU and other states and on decisions on English policy. It considers the future of agricultural funding and the possible ways in which it might be distributed after Brexit. These are not purely technical matters but also matters of political judgement on the purpose of agricultural spending and ideas about rural policy, which differ across the UK.



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