Union boss in Brexit pleato Holyrood chief

The Galloway News - - COUNTRY SIDE -

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.

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