Scottish Farmers Need Representation at Top Table in Europe

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment has agreed that Scottish farmers need better representation at European Union negotiations, in light of EU restrictions over internal export and import markets.
Richard Lochhead was replying to a suggestion raised in the Parliamentary Chamber by Dunfermline SNP MSP Bill Walker, who believes Scotland needs a voice at the top table so farmers can “get a fair go” at European import markets. Mr Walker was voicing his concerns after two farmers in West Fife were forced to stop milk production for economic reasons.
Mr Lochhead added that a stronger voice would mean farmers could exert more influence over labelling, an issue currently reserved to the UK Government in some contexts and to Europe in others. He said it would also help the Scottish Government safeguard the single farm payment for dairy businesses, at a time when the UK Government, supported by Labour, wishes to slash the common agricultural policy budget
Mr Lochhead noted: “If the single farm payment was not making its way to many dairy businesses in Scotland, they would face severe financial difficulties.”
He assured Mr Walker of the measures in place to support dairy farmers. The Scottish Government provides £43 million support each year under the single farm payment scheme. Additionally, the cumulative total support provided under all elements of the Scotland rural development programme now stands at £40 million, since 2007.

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