Monday, 26 April 2010
UK PARTIES FAIL SCOTLAND’S FARMERS
SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has welcomed the commitment to Scotland’s farmers and rural communities set out in the SNP’s priorities for agriculture.
The commitment was launched by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, who said that Scotland’s farmers needed local and national champions at Westminster, working with Scotland’s farmers, crofters, food producers and Scotland’s Government to ensure the best deal for the industry.
Speaking at the publication of the SNP’s priorities for agriculture, Richard Lochhead said:
"The SNP is now firmly established as rural Scotland's champion and our rural communities must make their voice heard in the coming elections.
"A successful rural economy needs successful agriculture. Our farmers are the best in the world and that’s why we have outstanding landscapes and produce some of the world’s most famous food and drink. The invaluable role farming plays means the industry deserves public support and is a high priority in the eyes of the SNP.
“Scotland’s farmers and crofters need local and national champions in Westminster to ensure the industry’s voice is heard in the vital years ahead. There are big decisions coming up that will be made by the UK Government. Without the SNP, the distinctive needs of Scottish agriculture will be ignored.
“With the Common Agricultural Policy about to be renegotiated, the need for strong Scottish voices to champion the farming sector’s cause in Westminster could not be greater.
“The partnership developed between the Scottish Government and our farmers has helped nurture the mood of returning optimism in Scottish agriculture.
“Farming is now at the heart of the Scottish Government’s agenda. The demand for Scottish food produce is on the up and food security is now recognised as a major issue.
“That’s why the SNP Government has set up the Pack Inquiry to look at the future of agriculture policy from the Scottish perspective and why in Holyrood and in Brussels we are opposed to the UK Government’s plans to scrap support for our farmers.
“Many vitally important decisions will be taken in London in the next few years that will require Scottish Champions within Westminster as well as a strong SNP Government in Holyrood.“
“Food and farming is an essential part of the economy in Banff & Buchan and I am determined that our important industries should be properly represented in Westminster.
“If left to their own devices, we know from bitter experience that the London parties will not hesitate in negotiating poor deals for rural Scotland in Brussels and that’s why of all EU countries, Scotland currently has the lowest level of European rural development funding – we even have the lowest in the UK!
“Each and every SNP MP elected on May 6th will champion Scottish causes and ensure the needs of Scotland’s farmers and rural communities are understood in the Westminster Parliament and I will make sure the interests of Banff & Buchan are at the front of that queue.”
SNP MPs' ten top priorities for agriculture:
- a new Common Agriculture Policy that continues direct support for active Scottish farmers
- an enhanced role for Scottish Ministers in EU agriculture negotiations
- Fairer Fuel Prices – with a Fair Fuel Regulator and lower duty on rural
- fuel to help rural communities
- Country of Origin Labelling
- A Supermarket Ombudsman
- A fairer share of EU rural development funding
- the early devolution of animal health budgets
- an acceleration of measures to simplify EU regulation
- the protection of the UK's agricultural and environmental science budgets
- farmer friendly energy regulation to boost the sector's renewable opportunities