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Cabinet Secretary to attend two NFU Scotland committee meetings next week

Two NFU Scotland committees will welcome Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP to their meetings in Grantown-on-Spey next week.

On the morning of Thursday, 30 August, Mr Ewing will meet with the Less Favoured Areas (LFA) Committee before joining the Crofting, Highlands and Islands Committee (CHIC) prior to its visit to nearby Lynbreck croft after lunch.

The LFA committee is chaired by Grantown-on-Spey hill farmer Robert MacDonald while CHIC is chaired by Glenelg crofter Barney MacAskill.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, who will also attend both committee meetings, welcomed the Cabinet Secretary’s plans and added: “For Scotland’s hills and uplands, these are times of great change and we need to make sure that change is for the good. 
 
“Farms and crofts across our more remote and island communities have a huge role to play in preserving fragile economies, delivering environmental goods and producing calves and lambs that are the cornerstone of Scotland’s livestock pyramid.
“For many of these businesses, the LFA scheme provides critical lifeline funding that is essential to their viability.  We know change is coming to LFA support but any cut to LFASS funding is unacceptable to us and we’ll work tirelessly to avert that.

“NFU Scotland is also at the heart of the debate on the new Crofting Bill and we have welcomed the previous commitment from the Cabinet Secretary on modernisation of crofting law within this Parliamentary session to make it transparent, understandable and workable.
 
“NFUS is keen to work with Scottish Government on the development of the promised National Development Plan for Crofting and work with Scottish Government and the Crofting Commission to develop the Commission’s role in better equipping crofters with the up-to-date information on schemes and projects that they need.

“It is a challenging time for crofting but getting the reforms right could create real opportunities. I am sure our CHIC committee will have much to discuss with the Cabinet Secretary next week.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “The Scottish Government recognises that hill farmers and crofters are an integral part of Scotland’s rural economy, which is why we have committed to continuing the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) in 2019, at the maximum payment rate permitted by EU regulations.
  
“I’m looking forward to meeting with representatives of the crofting and hill farming community during my visit and taking the opportunity to engage in constructive discussions on how best we can work together to support the sector against the backdrop of Brexit.”   

Notes to Editors and Media Invite

• The agenda and timetable for the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing in Grantown-on-Spey on Thursday, 30 August is as follows:

- 09:30 – 11:00 – Meeting with LFA Committee. The Pagoda, Seafield Avenue, Grantown-on-Spey PH26 3JF

- 11:45 – 13:00 – Meeting with CHIC. Grant Arms Hotel, 25 The Square, Grantown-on-Spey PH26 3HF

- 13:00 – 13:30 – Lunch and media briefing where Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing will be joined by Committee Chairmen Barney MacAskill and Robert MacDonald and President Andrew McCornick.

- 13:30 – 15:30 – Travel and Croft visit with CHIC at Lynbreck Croft, Tomintoul Road, Grantown on Spey, PH26 3NN (media are also invited to attend this visit)

• If media are planning to attend the event, please contact media@nfus.org.uk 

• A more formal media invite will be issued this week.

More information from Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 118/18


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