AGRICULTURE in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland faces an uncertain future after Brexit, according to a study.

The research, from the Centre on Constitutional Change, investigated the challenges presented by UK policymaking being heavily influenced by the needs of agriculture in England.

Agriculture is financed through the Common Agricultural Policy but UK ministers have guaranteed support only up to 2022. Direct payments to farmers in England will then be phased out.

Professor Michael Keating, who led the research, says the question of subsidies needs to be clarified.

“Around half of farm incomes in England come from the CAP but in Scotland it is three quarters, Wales 80 per cent and Northern Ireland 87 per cent,” he said.

“The EU Withdrawal Bill will take back devolved agricultural competences to Westminster, allowing some of them to be ‘released’ according to the needs of the Brexit settlement. The danger is that a piecemeal approach will make it more difficult for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to forge coherent agricultural and rural development policies tailored to their own conditions.”