FARMING will disappear from large parts of Scotland under “catastrophic” UK Government plans to overhaul the rural economy, it has been warned.

Legislation mapping out the future of UK agriculture after Brexit is expected to be introduced later this year, with ministers promising to maintain subsidies at the present EU level until 2022.

But Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said there was no clarity over when new laws would be brought forward – and warned current proposals would be disastrous.

He also told Scottish Land and Estates’ annual conference that he would step down in 2021 if targets to roll-out superfast broadband were not met.

He said: “If I don’t deliver this by 2021, I think it will be time for Fergus Ewing to depart and do something else, and leave the job to somebody else. But I can assure you, we’re on the case.”

Scottish ministers are advancing a £600 million programme to deliver superfast broadband across the whole of Scotland by 2021.

But Mr Ewing condemned the UK Government’s “stingy” contribution to the scheme – which he said consisted of just three per cent of the total funding – as well as criticising its post-Brexit plans for farming.

He repeated claims its flagship EU Withdrawal Bill represented a “power grab”, handing UK ministers power over some devolved areas for up to seven years.

He said: “We don’t know what powers Scotland will have in the future, despite the fact that agriculture, environment and fisheries are devolved policies.

“What we do know, however, is that if [the UK Government’s] vision for farming is implemented in Scotland, the results would be catastrophic.

“With no income support payments, farming will simply disappear from large parts of Scotland.”

He insisted such a collapse would also hit Scotland’s tourism industry, as farmers act as “custodians” of Scotland’s world-famous landscape.

Mr Ewing called plans to slash migration after Brexit “insidious and unsavoury” as well as “lunacy from an economic point of view”, given the reliance on overseas workers in agriculture.

He also raised concerns an independent review into how some EU farm subsidies are distributed had been kicked into the long grass, despite a long-running row between the Scottish and UK Governments.

But Scotland Office minister Lord Duncan of Springbank insisted issues around post-Brexit spending on farming “rest on the desk of Fergus Ewing”.

He told delegates at the conference, which brought together landowners and rural businesses: “There is no power grab. The notion that we are seeking to hold powers for seven years is disingenuous.”