Union Maps out Scottish Farming’s Requirements from Scottish Budget

NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Finance Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay MSP, ahead of the annual budget statement to parliament next week (12 December) setting out the measures that its members need to ensure a smooth transition and a prosperous future outside the EU.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick and Chief Executive Scott Walker met with the Cabinet Secretary during the summer for a very constructive discussion on Brexit readiness.

NFUS continues to work with Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland’s farmers and crofters get the best possible deal from EU exit in the time left available – avoiding a ‘no deal’ outcome at all costs.

If the right deal can be struck on the future relationship with the EU, it would create the opportunity to build a new agricultural policy in Scotland that will drive the industry to become more competitive, resilient and profitable.  Under NFUS’ proposals for a new agricultural policy in Scotland, funding would be rebased and targeted solely at those who are active. Three components of ‘Financial Stability’, ‘Productivity Measures’ and ‘Environmental Measures’ would work together to enable productivity gains, building more resilience, and delivering more environmental benefit – in turn, delivering for Scotland’s rural economies.

Commenting on his letter to Derek Mackay, President Andrew McCornick said: “Clearly how the new Scottish agricultural policy is funded is as important as to how the policies are implemented. Industry must work with Scottish Government in making the case to the UK Treasury for the fairest possible settlement from any review or future decision on the allocation of intra-UK funding for agriculture.

“We are also working closely with Scottish Government to find a solution to upcoming funding changes proposed for the lifeline Less Favoured Area Support Scheme. Whatever solution is found, it will have consequences for Scottish Government’s spending priorities.  NFUS has strongly urged Scottish Government to look favourably on the LFASS in light of its significance to a great number of Scotland’s agricultural businesses – many of which are located on Scotland’s most challenged landscapes and are the cornerstone of remote and fragile rural economies.

“Looking to the future, we want to work with Scottish Government to ensure that Scotland’s next generation of farmers and crofters are supported both by policy and the right financial tools to allow their fledgling businesses to be successful. Following the closure of the New Entrant’s Capital Grant Scheme this year, it is all the more important that the Scottish Government’s spending plans have measures that will inject confidence back into new agricultural businesses by recommitting funding to these schemes.

“And given that our food and drink sector remains an economic success story for Scotland, we would want to see funding reinvested back into the Processing and Marketing Grants Cooperation Scheme.

“Our letter to the Cabinet Secretary has also addressed the issue of business rates on renewables, and the application of sporting rates, in highlighting how these policies can often unintentionally burden those who are not the intended target. It is important that schemes such as the Small Business Bonus Scheme are continued into 2019/20 as it allows farm businesses that do not exercise sporting activity to be exempt from rates.

“Given the challenges farmers and the food sector face in tackling waste and adding value, we have asked for government support to be invested in schemes in local areas that will assist food producers in cutting waste and contributing to the circular rural economy. NFUS has queried whether funding from the underspent Circular Economy Fund could be put in this direction, to assist with shovel ready projects such as pop-up abattoirs or recycling of agricultural plastics.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 166/18

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