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Elections Bring Fresh Dynamic to Scottish Parliament

Union extends welcome new crop of MSPs

Voting in the Scottish Parliamentary elections has brought a new dynamic to Scottish politics for the five years ahead.

The vote saw SNP secure 63 seats; Scottish Conservatives 31 seats; Scottish Labour 24 seats; Scottish Green Party 6 seats and Scottish LibDems 5 seats.  The vote left SNP just short of an overall majority.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “This Scottish Parliamentary election has fallen at an unprecedented time for Scottish farming. The sustained downturn in farm incomes across all sectors and the failures encountered when implementing a new agricultural support system means that farmers and crofters are justifiably asking how the Scottish Government plans to address our pressing issues.

“These were the key themes at NFU Scotland’s hustings roadshows held in recent weeks and attended by hundreds of members across the country.

“With agriculture, rural affairs, land reform, environment and food policy being devolved to the Scottish Parliament, there are key decisions to be taken by this new crop of MSPs which will be extremely significant for NFU Scotland members over the next five-year term.

“NFU Scotland has enjoyed strong and positive links with parliamentarians of all colours since the Scottish Parliament was established, and we look forward to continuing this engagement in the new parliamentary term.

“We congratulate all new and returning MSPs on their election and will shortly extend invitations to them to meet with NFUS members across the country – either on farms throughout the summer or at upcoming agricultural shows, including the Highland.

“We pass on our very best wishes for the future to those MSPs and candidates who are not returning to the Scottish Parliament.  Several of those have been vocal and keen advocates for Scottish farmers and crofters since the start of the Scottish Parliament and some have been heavily involved in rural issues debated at Holyrood in recent times.

“Looking ahead, the Union mapped out its vision for Scottish farming and crofting in our manifesto document for this election and as the new parliament beds in, these are items we will be seeking to progress.  

“We want to see action that delivers a food chain which shares the risks and rewards and allows farmers and crofters to prosper.  It is important that, at this time of uncertainty and volatility in the agricultural industry, we have strong voices within Scottish Government that represent Scottish farmers and crofters and look to build on a food and drink sector success that has yet to connect with the farm gate.

“And there is much unfinished business to be done in delivering outstanding support payments to all farmers before the payment window closes in June.  As a Union, we will be looking for the new Government to provide a guarantee that there will not be the same debacle and any repeat of the IT delivery failings seen in 2015.  A clear timetable for support payment delivery in the future must be set and adhered to and proper accountability needs to be established.

“We understand that over the coming days key Cabinet appointments will be made, and we will ask meet with those ministers at the earliest possibility to seek solutions to the unique challenges currently facing our industry and develop the solutions that can return our sector back to profitability.

“With the ink barely dry on ballot papers, focus will quickly turn to the European referendum on 23 June with the Union’s debate on EU membership, involving Commissioner Hogan and the Brexit campaign taking place at Ingliston on 19 May.”

Notes to Editors

  • NFUS wishes to remind members that anybody registered to vote in the Scottish election will automatically be registered to vote in the upcoming EU Referendum on Thursday 23 June.
  • NFU Scotland strongly advises that any member planning to attend the Royal Highland Show on 23 June registers for a postal vote in the EU referendum. This can be done online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote
  • NFU Scotland’s debate on European membership entitled: “In or Out – The implications for Scottish food and farming” will be held in the MacRobert Pavilion, Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, nr Edinburgh, EH28 8NB on Thursday 19 May, 6.30pm for 7.00pm start.  The first speaker confirmed is European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.  A speaker for the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign is to be confirmed.
  • You can register for the event on 19 May at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-or-out-the-implications-for-scottish-food-and-farming-tickets-25193431231
  • Any media interested in attending the debate can contact Bob Carruth on media@nfus.org.uk
  • Commissioner Hogan will be visiting the arable and beef farm run by the Dandie family at Learielaw, Broxburn, West Lothian, EH52 5PG on the morning of Friday 20 May.  A formal media invite will be sent out in due course but any media interested in attending the debate can contact Bob Carruth on media@nfus.org.uk

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 113/16


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