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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD SECURES COMMITMENT ON SINGLE FARM PAYMENTS

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford today won an assurance from DEFRA Secretary of State Caroline Spelman that the UK Government will seek to maintain Pillar 1 support for farmers in the current reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The SNP MP raised the issue in the House of Commons during questions to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Dr Whiteford also asked the Secretary of State how she intended to work with the Scottish Government.

Commenting, Dr Eilidh Whiteford said:

"I welcome the Secretary of State's response to me today which should offer reassurance to North-east farmers in the current climate of uncertainty surrounding CAP reform.

"While SNP MPs will continue to call for Scotland and other devolved administrations to have a direct voice in EU negotiations, we appreciate the Secretary of State's willingness to consult and listen. I hope that this progress will be backed up by concrete action."


Transcript from Hansard:

Dr Eilidh Whiteford (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): May I also welcome the right hon. Lady and her team to their posts? I believe that her talks yesterday with the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment were very constructive, but will she clarify for the benefit of the House how she intends to work with the devolved Administrations? In particular, how does she see the future of pillar one support in the common agricultural policy reform process?

Caroline Spelman (Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs): I thank the hon. Lady for that question, and I can tell her that discussions with her honourable colleague from Scotland were indeed very constructive. I made it clear to him that I would always consult before taking a position ahead of any Council meeting. I added that we will have very close and good contact with all the devolved Administrations, and I said specifically that I am confident that pillar one and direct payments will continue.

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