Union boss in Brexit pleato Holyrood chief
NFU Scotland has written to Cabinet Secretary Derek Mackay setting out measures it wants to ensure a smooth transition and prosperous future outside the EU.
The letter comes as Mr Mackay prepares his budget statement to parliament on December 12.
It follows constructive talks on Brexit readiness between NFUS president Andrew McCornick and Mr Mackay.
The union wants the best possible Brexit deal – avoiding no deal at all costs. It also proposes a new agricultural policy in Scotland post-Brexit,
with funding targeted only at active farmers and centred on financial stability, productivity and environmental benefits.
Mr McCornick said: “How the new Scottish agricultural policy is funded is as important as how the policies are implemented.
“The industry must work with the Scottish Government in making the case to the UK Treasury for the fairest possible settlement from any review or future decision on the allocation of intra-UK funding for agriculture.
“We are also working closely with the Scottish Government to find a solution to upcoming
funding changes proposed for the Less Favoured Area Support Scheme. The NFUS has urged the Scottish Government to look favourably on the LFASS in light of its significance to a great number of Scotland’s agricultural businesses – many of which are the cornerstone of fragile rural economies.”
He added: “We want to ensure the next generation of farmers are supported both by policy and the right financial tools.
“Following closure of the New Entrants’ Capital Grant Scheme this year, it is all the more important that the Scottish Government’s spending
plans have measures that will inject confidence back into new agricultural businesses by recommitting funding to these schemes.
“And given that our food and drink sector remains an economic success story, we’d want to see funding reinvested into the Processing and Marketing Grants Cooperation Scheme.”
The letter also highlights the issue of business rates on renewables and the importance of retaining the Small Business Bonus Scheme exempting farms not exercising sporting activity from rates.