Farming unions agree no justification for Scottish demands to receive more CAP money

Wednesday, 26 June, 2013

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has joined NFU and NFU Cymru in rejecting calls from the Scottish Government to redistribute UK CAP funds. The comments were made by the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead at the recent Highland Show.

Following news that the NFU Council unanimously voted to reject the Scottish Government’s demands, UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “The unanimous vote by the NFU Council is a clear signal to the Scottish Government that the UFU, NFU and NFU Cymru will not stand idly by while they make a play for additional funds.”

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond, who was at the NFU Council meeting, said; “The CAP budget for the UK has been cut. This means that there will be less money available in future. It beggars belief that the SNP think it is justified that somehow Scotland should be exempt from those cuts. 

“As farming organisations representing the interests of active farmers, we believe that the purpose of direct payments is to maintain agricultural capacity and underpin farm business resilience, not to be spread thinly across millions and millions of hectares of unproductive land.”

Harry Sinclair added; “Unfortunately, it appears that we are being dragged into the Scottish Independence debate. The current system of allocating funds across the UK regions broadly reflects each area’s agricultural productive capacity, as it should, and we see absolutely no reason to change it.”

NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said NFU Council also gave a ringing endorsement to recent comments made by Secretary of State Owen Paterson at the Holyrood Parliament.

Mr Raymond added: “Mr Paterson believes that the fairest way of dividing up the UK pot is to retain the status quo. We absolutely agree. The UK’s direct support payment distribution envelopes should remain as they are, broadly reflective of the agricultural capability of the area to which it is allocated. I am afraid that Mr Lochhead’s comments have their origins in the high politics of the Scottish Independence Referendum. Our job as farming unions is to ensure that decisions are made on objective not opportunistic grounds and that farmers across the rest of the UK are not left at a disadvantage.”