South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has reacted with disappointment to the figures produced by the Scottish Government, highlighting the extent to which Scottish farmers are losing out as a result of the Westminster Government’s failure to negotiate a favourable deal on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The figures demonstrate that payments to Scottish farmers are likely to be the lowest in Europe for both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“These figures show just how let down Scottish farmers are by Westminster. According to the analysis the UK Government negotiated Scotland down to the bottom of the league tables of EU funding.
“Going into the negotiations, Scotland had the third lowest level of farm support in Europe for Pillar 1. Europe then agreed a formula to close the gap between the countries with lowest payments with those of the highest.
“Scotland is now likely to be leapfrogged by Latvia and Estonia, whose Ministers sit at the top table and make their farmers a priority. In contrast, we are looking at being rooted to the bottom of the league.
“In the negotiations 16 out of the 28 countries negotiated a raise in their rural development budgets. Westminster has performed poorly for Scotland. As a result, Scottish farmers have lost out to the tune of a massive £850 million over the budget period.
“Our farmers are getting a raw deal from a CAP budget which was negotiated without Scotland’s agriculture sector in mind. This potentially has huge implications for a rural area such as Dumfries and Galloway, an area which places enormous importance on agriculture to sustain its economy.
“It is clear Scotland needs a voice at the top table and that decisions about Scotland’s farming industry should be taken by the people who live and work here."