First Minister’s economic adviser calls for removal of “perverse” agricultural subsidies

A member of the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Economic Recovery has called for the removal of “perverse” agricultural subsidies among several measures to help Scotland reach its Net Zero targets.

Speaking at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s annual Forum, Dieter Helm, professor of economic policy at the University of Oxford, said it would be a “retrograde step” to carry on with the common agricultural policy.

He bemoaned the “enormous damage” done to the Scottish landscape by farming and tree felling over the last century, noting that while national assets like peat bogs are globally significant in terms of carbon storage, “we have to stop overgrazing”.

In a separate session, minister for trade Ivan McKee MSP did confirm the Scottish Government’s commitment to investment in peatland restoration and tackling biodiversity loss more generally, adding that money has already been spent on meeting emissions targets and creating green jobs.