NFU Scotland looks ahead to the next five years of government

Following today’s General Election results, NFU Scotland will be looking to work with government to build on the success of the food and drink industry to ensure the benefits of such are brought back to Scotland.

Agriculture is facing a challenging time and up until now the success of the food and drinks industry has largely gone unnoticed by Scottish farmers with others in the supply chain reaping the benefits of our excellent produce and the story we have to tell.

Reflecting on today’s election results, NFU Scotland considers the importance to build upon the strengths of the food and drink industry over the next five years and that they are felt throughout the whole of the supply chain.

Taking forward its Manifesto for Rural Scotland, the Union will be looking at the UK government to end the inequalities of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) convergence funding; to remove the imbalances in the supply chain so farmers have greater share of the benefits; and to maximise the opportunities in domestic markets and export markets that are available for quality produce.

Over the last six weeks NFU Scotland has held a series of husting events with hundreds of members hearing candidates’ priorities for the agricultural industry ahead of the General Election.

NFU Scotland’s Manifesto for Rural Scotland situates the Union’s position as we head into a new five years of government. It calls upon our new team of MPs standing in the election to work with Scottish farmers over the next five years to boost agriculture and the rural economy.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie commented: “This election has signalled a significant shift in politics in Scotland.

“With a majority Conservative vote, it will be important that the government is seen to listen and deliver on the needs of farmers in Scotland, and for MPs across the UK to come together and secure the best future for our industry.

“We hope to meet with the new Defra minister as soon as possible to ensure that the key issues in farming in Scotland form part of the agenda.

“There remains unfinished business on the issue of budget convergence. There had been strong commitment from two former Defra ministers to address this issue after the election to ensure budget imbalance to Scotland is readdressed, and Single Farm Payment rates have parity across the UK.

“The discussion will now begin on when to have an EU referendum as set out in the party’s manifesto. Clearly the issue of European Union membership is of huge importance to farmers in Scotland.

“Currently, the case is in favour of being part of the EU. Scottish farming currently receives millions of pounds in support from the EU each year via the CAP. Without this vital support, many Scottish farms would no longer be viable. In addition, the European export market is important for Scottish agriculture. If we were to exit the EU, Scottish producers would still have to comply with EU rules if we wanted to access these markets.

“NFU Scotland is pleased to enjoy strong links with our representatives in the Westminster, Scottish and EU parliaments, and we hold regular meetings across the regions of Scotland to allow our members an opportunity to meet and put questions to their politicians. We very much look forward to engaging with our new team of MPs as we work to stabilise and promote the vitality of our sector across all four parts of the UK.”

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