Union Seeking Categorical Support and Increased Funding For Food and Farming Sector in Party Manifestos as UK Gears Up for General Election

NFU Scotland is calling for political party manifestos, likely to start emerging early in 2024, to reflect the unique role that farming, crofting and food production have in the national interest.

Issues around food security, the cost of living, economic growth, labour, climate mitigation, and nature restoration will be at the forefront of UK political debate as we race towards a General Election next year.

While agriculture and food production matters to everyone, it needs a profitable agriculture sector if farmers and crofters are to do the required ‘heavy lifting’ around food production, climate mitigation and adaptation, and enhancing nature.

To achieve that, NFU Scotland is calling on all parties to include a manifesto pledge that will see the agricultural budget of currently £3.7 billion per annum increase by at least £1 billion for the term of the next parliament. That would equate to an additional sum of at least £170 million per year for investing in Scottish agriculture.

NFU Scotland anticipates having its own political manifesto for the coming year ready by Spring and it will be ramping up its engagement with all the major Westminster parties from early in the New Year. It will put across the unequivocal, cast-iron case for additional investment in farming support as a top priority for 2024.

NFU Scotland’s Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “Food and farming have always had a unique role in the national interest, but it is no longer just about putting healthy, safe and nutritious food and drink on the table. 

“Agriculture is going to be asked to do considerably more in the future. Policymakers and politicians must recognise that, and the budget must reflect it. Delivering public goods in the public interest demands public investment.

“Unprecedented global events in recent years, including pandemics and wars as well as more extreme weather, have highlighted how fragile our food supply chains are and how vulnerable we can become if we don’t invest in our own ability to deliver on food security, climate ambitions, nature restoration and our rural communities – simultaneously.

“With the current spending levels only guaranteed for the lifetime of the current parliament, a new budget commitment will be required for at least the period from 2025 to 2029. A new, increased, UK agricultural budget must be structured around high-quality production, environmental ambitions and rural resilience – all underpinned by an active and effective agricultural industry. 

“NFU Scotland is calling on all political parties contesting the General Election to commit to new UK-wide multi-annual, ring-fenced and increased financial settlement for agriculture and rural development. That is a robust debate we started having with political parties when we attended their national conferences in the autumn.

“Parties must now turn those warm words we received at the conferences in to genuine manifesto pledges if they are to garner the support of farmers, crofters and the wider rural community at the ballot box next year.”  


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 79/23

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About The Author

Bob Carruth

A dairy farmer’s son, I joined NFU Scotland in 1999 after 13 years as an agricultural journalist. Following spells as a regional manager and policy lead on milk, livestock and animal health and welfare, I became Communications Director in 2008.

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