MSP Bill Walker Calls for Scotland to Have Say in CAP

Dunfermline MSP Bill Walker has restated his calls for Scotland to have its own voice in Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) negotiations in Europe, after a highly respected agricultural expert put forward the case at last weekend’s Royal Highland Show.

Brian Pack, former Senior Agricultural Economist with the North of Scotland College of Agriculture, had argued during Farmer’s Question Time that:

“In terms of CAP Scotland needs a seat at the table; we need to argue our own case, because what is right for English agriculture isn’t what is right for Scottish agriculture.”

MSP Mr Walker, who has previously raised the matter with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in the Scottish Parliamentary Chamber, said:

“Agriculture in Scotland has a very different profile from England, with, for example more hill farming — that is, sheep. Unfortunately we have no independent say, and as a result Scottish farmers are not sufficiently represented.

“CAP is an important issue for West Fife, and I feel that politicians in London have no real understanding of our farmers’ needs.

“Successive UK Governments have also failed to negotiate the best deal for the Single Farm Payment (SFP). Scotland has the fourth lowest SFP, despite the fact that without this payment many farmers would be in dire straits.

“Scottish farmers need to be directly represented in Europe by the people who understand the needs of Scottish farming.“

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