The Scottish Government have provided additional detail on the spending of the multi-million cash boost from Westminister following the Bew report.

Back in 2019, the Lord Bew Review of Farm Funding altered the formula for setting the different rural budgets across the UK with a recommendation for a hefty lift for Scotland. The Prime Minister at the time, Boris Johnston, announced a one-off £160 million payment in their Spending Round which was followed by an extra £51.4 million over the next two years.

The Scottish Farmer asked the Scottish government for details on how this money was spent. They explained that in 2022-23 the Rural Affairs portfolio received £25.7m Bew funding, which arrived in the budget without prior knowledge and therefore was uncommitted, plus a further £10m returned from previous years.

The government then put £25.7m as a contribution to the Emergency budget savings of £33m. The Deputy First Minister has agreed this will be returned in full in future in accordance with the annual budget setting process. The £10m was allocated to the National Test programme with an underspend experienced at year end due to insufficient demand.

In 2023-24 the portfolio received £25.7m of Bew monies as part of the baseline budget and an additional £20m returned from previous years. Of the £25.7m, £21.1m has been offered as ringfenced savings in the latest announcement. The £20m was allocated to the National Test Programme.

Of this, £7m is now forecast not to be spent due to the development of the Agricultural Reform Programme business case and reprofiling and has therefore been offered back to the Scottish government budget. Both these sums, the government states will be returned in full in future years in accordance with the usual budget setting process.