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NFUS Welcomes Open Dialogue with Defra on CAP

NFU Scotland has welcomed renewed open dialogue with Defra and the UK Government following a visit by Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore to NFUS President Nigel Miller’s farm at Stow in the Scottish Borders.

The visit came at a crucial time in the CAP negotiations as EU Member States get to grips with EU Commission proposals which could have a profound effect on Scottish agriculture.

The Union’s top team, including President Nigel Miller, Vice-Presidents Allan Bowie and John Picken, Chief Executive Scott Walker and Policy and the Regions Director, Jonnie Hall gathered with the Ministers and their staff to ensure that Scotland’s specific issues are to the fore when the UK’s position is negotiated at EU meetings on CAP reform.

Following the meeting, NFU Scotland’s President, Nigel Miller said:

“I was very pleased to welcome Caroline Spelman and Michael Moore to Stow today and we were able to cover a lot of ground in our discussions.

“We made it clear that Scotland will need to retain options on the delivery of support in order to address the great variation in our nation’s farms. In the context of area-based support, in particular, we were able to highlight the crucial role that coupled payments and Area of Natural Concern payments might make to livestock sectors in more remote and disadvantaged locations.

“Significantly, Mrs Spelman shares our concerns the proposals relating to greening. We were given assurances that whatever the final outcome of greening, the UK Government would insist that it is not overly prescriptive and must recognise what farmers and crofters are already delivering by way of environmental worth.

“Today’s meeting opened the door for NFUS to feed in specific examples of where the proposals could have unintended consequences that the UK Government can share with key negotiating allies at EU meetings. It appears that a top priority for Mrs Spelman is to reach a CAP outcome that allows flexibility for all Member States and regions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, a position that we fully support.

“Regarding the longer term future of the industry Mrs. Spelman backed our calls for ready access to support payments from new entrants and the need for a national reserve.

“Constructive talks with all our elected representatives in the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the EU are vital in order to secure the best possible outcome for Scottish agriculture and we look forward to continuing our discussions in all political arenas as the CAP evolves.”

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

Date Published:

News Article No.: 03/12


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