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Low Budget Share Must be Addressed

Scottish Farmers deliver blunt message to Treasury

NFU Scotland has called on UK Treasury to play its part in ensuring that Scottish farming's position near the bottom of the CAP budget league table is improved.

NFUS President Nigel Miller met Treasury Under-Secretary Danny Alexander MP in Inverness today (29 March) to discuss the need to not just equalise CAP payments between EU Member States but within the UK itself.

The Union believes this can be addressed as part of the current CAP Reform process, but also beyond 2020, when the EU proposes to introduce a flat-rate support payment of €196 per hectare EU-wide.  That is a significantly greater figure than Scotland's current average receipt of €140 per hectare based on the existing claimed area.

NFUS also discussed with Mr Alexander its concept of tax incentives for letting land to new entrants, plus a problem recently highlighted to the Union whereby - apparently due to an unintended technicality - farm tenants working in partnerships are no longer permitted to use Agricultural Investment Allowances.

Speaking after the meeting NFUS President Nigel Miller said:

"We are constantly reminded that the macro-economic scene is having more impact than ever before on CAP negotiations and that Whitehall departments must satisfy Treasury's austerity demands when creating policy. That being the case, it is crucial that we take Scottish farming's case directly to the men and women that set our budgets at home and abroad.

"Today's meeting was a crucial opportunity to bring Danny Alexander up to speed on how CAP budget allocations might develop within the UK and to argue Scotland's case for a more equal share of the budget when the national envelope is decided.  I pressed the case for an increase in Scotland's share given that the UK currently receives less than the EU average, and Scotland even less.

"This current round of CAP reform discussions is a real staging post.  However, NFUS is already looking at the next CAP reform, which will begin in 2020, by which time the EU Commission wants all EU Member States to apply a direct payment at a flat rate of €196 per hectare, well above Scotland's current rate.

"It was also useful to discuss in detail some more technical subjects, especially the availability of Annual Investment Allowances to tenant farmer partnerships and NFU Scotland's proposed scheme to help incentivise landowners to let more land to new entrants.  

“All-in-all, this was another very useful meeting and – coupled with our earlier meeting this week with Defra Secretary of State Owen Paterson – a very good spell in terms of building on our relationship with Westminster."

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 46/13


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