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Call for 'Stability and Simplicity' to Look Further into the Future

15 August 2018

SCOTLAND, UK - In an extensive and comprehensive response to the consultation: 'Stability and Simplicity: Proposals for Rural Funding Transition Period', the National Farmers' Union Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s intent but urged it to move the debate on quickly to the industry’s post-CAP future.

NFU Scotland President, Andrew McCornick said: "This is an unprecedented period of physical and financial challenge for Scotland’s farmers and crofters, imposing huge personal and business stress on many. It is right that, amid an era of Brexit-fuelled uncertainty, the Scottish Government and NFU Scotland work together to provide a degree of certainty and confidence.

"We share the Scottish Government’s desire for stability, security, ongoing support and simplification. It is also essential that those desired outcomes provide the necessary platform for the development and delivery of a new agricultural policy for Scotland that moves beyond the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

"While supporting the intent behind the ‘Stability and Simplicity’ proposals, especially in the context of transition, they stop short of what is required when it comes to a future vision. There needs to be a clear strategy for Scottish agriculture, with agreement on the objectives of future agricultural policy and the desired outcomes.

"The current proposals are almost exclusively focused on modifications to the existing CAP as currently delivered in Scotland, through direct support and rural development. We need to move quickly to the next stage and develop our own agricultural and rural policy for life beyond transition and the CAP itself.

"Agriculture needs a coherent and consistent strategy. A significant change to agricultural and rural policy in Scotland should not be a blunt response to Brexit. That process simply provides the much-needed catalyst for change.

"NFU Scotland is ready to work with the Scottish Government to come forward with a Scottish agricultural policy that will support active farmers and crofters and help support profitable agriculture.

"In our own Steps To Change document, launched in March, we map out our vision of a bold agricultural policy based on supporting activity rather than land, which would target future funding to deliver a profitable farming sector that underpins the huge social, economic and environmental contribution made by farmers and crofters.

"Likewise, the Scottish Government’s commitment to look at legislative simplification and addressing the ‘fear factor’ associated with disproportionate mapping, inspection and penalty processes also mirrors NFU Scotland’s own priorities – many of which were captured in the Union’s Post-Brexit Priorities for Legislative Change publication of September 2017.

"A real partnership between the Scottish Government and the industry is now essential if the right policies and operating environment are to be achieved for Scottish agriculture. The Scottish Government’s own Agricultural Champions acknowledged in their recent report that agriculture, as an industry, merits support and NFUS shares that view – but, critically, the Union is clear that the basis for that support must change."

TheCattleSite News Desk

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