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Union Seeks Early Engagement with New Cabinet Appointments

NFU Scotland has written to key cabinet appointments announced yesterday (24 July) by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Last night saw the appointment of Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack as Secretary of State for Scotland replacing David Mundell MP in that post.  The new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is Theresa Villiers MP with the previous incumbent, Michael Gove MP, taking up a new cabinet post as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – regarded as the de facto Deputy Prime Ministerial position.

Given the significant levels of uncertainty in the Scottish farming industry, as highlighted in NFU Scotland’s Brexit confidence survey in June, the Union has today written to the new Cabinet ministers congratulating them on their appointments and seeking engagement on Scottish farming issues at the earliest opportunity.  NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick has also sent private messages to both Mr Mundell and Mr Gove.

Mr McCornick said: “When seeking election, we received significant commitments from the new Prime Minister, both publicly and privately.  Congratulating them on their appointment, we now look forward to working closely with both Alister Jack and Theresa Villiers to secure delivery.

“In responding to NFU Scotland during the process for electing the new Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said his ambition was for a trade deal that minimises friction and that his intention was to establish a process that ensures that every sector and industry in the economy has access to the workers that it needs.

“He included a categorical commitment to address the £160 million shortfall in funding that Scottish farming has experienced in recent years as a result of the flawed convergence decisions taken by the Government in 2013, as well as providing an additional £25 million per year to the sector.

“With Lord Bew’s review of agricultural funding expected shortly, and Brexit casting a huge shadow over Scotland’s farmers and crofters, these are matters we would wish to pick up with our new Secretaries of State as a matter of urgency.

“Theresa Villiers is our seventh Secretary of State at Defra in less than a decade so it would be incredibly beneficial to meet soon to outline the priorities and concerns for Scottish farming.  

“As MP for a rural constituency, and with a background in farming, Alister Jack will already have an excellent knowledge of the importance of Scottish food and farming and we would welcome the chance to discuss how, together, we can make the industry more profitable and productive in a post-Brexit future.

“I would also like to publicly thank both David Mundell and Michael Gove.  NFUS has had a good relationship with both, allowing valuable discussion and debate on Scottish food and farming to take place at both a local and national level.”  

Notes to Editors

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 107/19


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