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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD RAISES DRACONIAN FARM PENALTIES IN COMMONS

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has raised the issue of draconian farm penalties in the House of Commons.

The SNP MP was speaking during DEFRA Questions, where Minister of State Jim Paice MP agreed that the penalties which could be imposed are out of all proportion.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Dr Whiteford said:

“One of the main issues that is raised repeatedly with me by farmers is the whole issue of cross compliance and the very heavy penalties farmers face for very minor infringements of no material consequence whatsoever, and does the Minister share my view that these penalties are out of all proportion, and will he raise it with the Commission as a matter of urgency.

Responding, DEFRA Minister of State Jim Paice MP said:

“I entirely share that view that these penalties are entirely out of proportion. I have raised it with the Commission and more importantly both I and many other Ministers of Agriculture have raised it in the context of the review of the CAP which has just commenced. We have expressed firmly to the Commission that the next system of CAP must be much more simple for individual farmers and for member states to implement.

Commenting afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“This is a serious issue and one which is a cause for much concern amongst farmers all across Scotland.

“Some very minor mistakes indeed may lead to a huge penalty being handed down which simply cannot be justified in the overall context of the original error.

“I am encouraged by the Minister’s response but action speaks louder than words and I hope we will see real priority and progress on this issue as part of the CAP negotiations.”

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