Politicians Urged To Support Scottish Farming’s Future At Westminster Reception

At a packed reception to support Scottish farming’s future, NFU Scotland met with MPs and Lords, outlining the importance of the sector and its valuable contribution to delivering high-quality food while meeting climate and biodiversity needs, underpinning rural communities and sustaining thousands of businesses and jobs across the supply chain.

The event held in the House of Commons (Tuesday 16 April) and sponsored by Alistair Carmichael MP, provided the Union’s Presidential Team – Martin Kennedy, Andrew Connon and Alasdair Macnab – with an ideal opportunity to present the key requirements Scottish agriculture needs to reach its full potential. These requirements are clearly outlined in the NFU Scotland General Election Manifesto which was launched last week (Wednesday 10 April).

With a General Election on the horizon, the Union’s key asks in their manifesto are:

  • Deliver increased, ring-fenced and multi-annual funding. 
  • Improve producer margins to increase food security.
  • Better access to skilled workers
  • Protect domestic food production in future trade deals.
  • Increase fiscal incentives.

The Union delegation used the Westminster reception to present attendees with case studies outlining the incredible importance of the sector to the wider rural businesses (see attached). The 12 farming and crofting businesses featured worked with a total of more than 700 different supply chain companies, spending more than £12.6 million with those suppliers. Across the sector as a whole, every £1 of government funded direct payments into Scottish farming and crofting generates £6 of agricultural output.

Speaking immediately after the Westminster reception, NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said; “The next parliamentary term will be pivotal for Scotland’s farmers and crofters. Today’s event provided us with an excellent opportunity to put the importance of Scottish agriculture front and centre in the minds of numerous MPs and Lords from each of the main parties in Westminster. The sector punches well above its weight when it comes to supporting high-quality food production, meeting environmental challenges, underpinning rural communities, and sustaining multiple businesses and thousands of jobs.
“Most policy, legislation and regulation which directly and indirectly relates to our interests in the future prosperity of Scottish agriculture is devolved to Holyrood and the Scottish Government. However, there are fundamental issues that are reserved to the UK Government, such as trade, migration, and internal market issues. We need commitments from the UK Government, and we need the full support of all prospective Scottish MPs who should all be championing the interests of Scottish agriculture. Today provided us with the platform to showcase examples of how farming and crofting businesses across Scotland are integral to our economy.
“A successful and prosperous Scottish agricultural industry is key to a successful and prosperous Scotland and UK. We were also able to outline the key asks listed in our recently launched General Election Manifesto document which we believe will be critical in supporting a sustainable, profitable future for Scottish farming and crofting. Top of the asks list of is the fundamental need to deliver increased, ring-fenced and multi-annual funding.
“We will be pushing hard to see each of our key asks included in all parties’ manifestos as we approach the inevitable General Election and aim to host a national hustings event in due course.
“I’d like to thank our sponsor, Alistair Carmichael MP, for sponsoring today’s reception and enabling us to profile our world-leading Scottish agriculture sector to all who attended.”
Sponsor Alistair Carmichael MP, Orkney and Shetland, added: “It is a pleasure to support the NFUS with this event in Parliament today. Farming and food production are enormously important to our country, both economically and at the heart of our communities. We have a world-leading farming sector and that needs to be reflected in our politics.
“Farmers in the isles and across Scotland deserve the strongest possible voice at the heart of government. I hope that colleagues across Parliament will have taken away the positive message coming from the NFUS today.”

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