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Opportunities for Scottish Farming from Hung Vote

NFU Scotland believes that a hung parliament presents genuine opportunities for organisations to successfully influence a minority or coalition UK government, for the good of the food and farming industries and consumers

Since Scottish devolution in 1999 and the creation of the Scottish Parliament, there have been three successive “hung parliaments” in Scotland resulting in two coalitions involving Labour and Liberal Democrats and, most recently, an SNP minority Government.

The opportunities that a hung parliament presents to a sector such as agriculture and to an organisation such as NFUS must be neither underestimated nor missed.

NFU Scotland’s President, Jim McLaren said:

“With agriculture as a devolved issue and as one of Scotland’s leading membership organisations, NFUS has enjoyed close working relationships with all political parties in Scotland, and used that relationship to win a better working environment for Scottish farmers.

“Despite the current economic crisis and the need for stable government, the experience of the political arrangements in Scotland over the last decade is such that there is good reason to believe that any minority Government or coalition relying on political consensus can successfully deliver the stability that is necessary for our industry.

“The prospect of a hung Parliament holds little fear for Scottish agriculture. Since Devolution, agriculture has been governed in Scotland by a mixture of coalitions and minority administrations, arguably with a fair deal of success.  The current minority administration has performed well for farmers and the rural community as a whole, with consensus politics ensuring that decisions are for the most part, sensible.  Indeed, our relationship with the Scottish Government has fared well since the Scottish Parliament came into existence 11 years ago.

“Despite the devolution of agriculture, the UK Parliament still has a large amount of control over the future for Scotland’s farmers. Not least because the UK is the Member State in Europe through which official CAP negotiations must take place. This does not stop Scotland holding discussions in Brussels ourselves, which we do almost constantly, but does present challenges when the UK default position of late has been to scrap the CAP.

“Whatever arrangements emerge from the negotiations over who will run Britain, the priorities for Scotland remain the same. We need a strong defence of the CAP and its budget; devolution of the Animal Health budget to sit in Scotland beside the policy; delivery of the supermarket ombudsman to oversee the running of the strengthened Grocery Supply Chain Code; policies on climate change which are backed by sound science and true partnership in any discussions surrounding cost sharing which recognise that costs must first be slashed before any of them are passed on to industry.”

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 73/10


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