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NFUS Urges Westminster Politicians to Address Industry-Wide Price Crisis

NFU Scotland has met with high-level Scottish politicians at Westminster today (Monday 7 September) seeking support for measures to address the recent downturn in prices across all agricultural commodities.

Over recent months, many farmers across Scotland and the UK have been put under immense financial pressure due to extreme volatility in key markets. Paired with the adverse weather over the summer months, this has forced many Scottish farmers to question their future viability.

Eight members of the Union’s Board of Directors joined NFU Scotland staff at Westminster for meetings with the main political parties.

The delegation met with Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP; Alistair Carmichael MP; Calum Kerr MP and other MPs from the delegated SNP ‘rural group’.

The Union representatives stressed to politicians the critical extent of the price crisis which is impacting across all the sectors, and presented a seven-point action plan that the Union would like the UK government to urgently address.

One key concern was the need for the UK Government’s to fulfil its promise to a review of the budget allocation of Pillar 1 support across the devolved administrations, to address the so-called convergence dividend issue.

Other points raised with the MPs were:

  • Recognise the supply chain is not working and that urgent measures are required to address the immediate farming crisis across all sectors
  • Along with devolved administrations, present a united UK position on the actions needed to tackle the current crisis following the emergency Agriculture Council meeting taking place today (7 September) in Brussels
  • Deliver clearer rules on country of origin labelling along with better, more consistent promotion of British food
  • Refine its public procurement food policy
  • Commit to an extension of the powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator
  • Work with the devolved administrations to ensure that all direct CAP payments are delivered to farmers in time for the traditional December payment window

Jonnie Hall, NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy commented: “The farming industry is resilient and is accustomed to volatility in the global marketplace. However, this prolonged dip in prices across the agricultural commodities, compounded by poor weather over the summer months and the newly-reformed CAP, has resulted in many farmers questioning whether they will have a future in farming.

“We welcome the fact that so many of the new crop of Scottish MPs have visited farms and met NFUS at agricultural shows this summer. They understand that all sectors are facing a difficult time and want to work with the industry to help.

“A change of attitude is required by governments and the supply chain. Scottish Government needs to stop burdening the industry with unnecessary rules and costs. Both Holyrood and Westminster should be working harder to open up markets for what we produce and allowing us to compete with the rest of the world. Retailers and all those companies that buy the food produced on Scottish farms should sign up to a domestic sourcing commitment and a transparent price.

“At our meetings today with MPs and the Scotland Office, we stressed the need to honour past Ministers’ commitments to review UK CAP budget allocations. The UK Government’s decision to ignore Europe’s aims for convergence has left Scotland languishing with some of the lowest area payment rates in Europe and denied the Scottish farming sectors vital funding.

“That would have not only assisted primary producers but the many ancillary industries it supports.

“We were promised that this would be corrected once CAP was implemented. Now is the time for the UK Government to deliver on its promise.

“This is a critical time for Scottish and UK farming, but with a fundamental shift in approach from governments and the wider food chain, we remain convinced that there can be a bright future for the farming industry.”

Notes to editors

  • A briefing document with NFU Scotland’s vision for the industry, and key actions for the government is available by emailing media@nfus.org.uk or calling 0131 472 4108.
  • The delegation which attended Westminster included: Ian Sands (Combinable Crops Committee Chairman); Jamie Smart (Legal and Technical Committee Chairman); Martin Kennedy (Less Favoured Areas Committee Chairman); Gerald Banks (Environment and Land Use Committee Chairman); Gary Mitchell (Dumfries and Galloway Regional Chairman); John Wildman (Ayrshire Regional Chairman); Graeme Kilpatrick (Milk Committee Chairman) and Roddy Kennedy (East Central Regional Chairman). The delegation will be accompanied by Director of Policy Jonnie Hall; Parliamentary Officer Clare Slipper and Communications Manager Ruth McClean.
  • For photographs from the day contact media@nfus.org.uk or call 0131 472 4108.


Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 170/15


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