Tories can’t be trusted over farm support, says local MSP Gail Ross
NORTH MSP Gail Ross has slammed the UK Government for "badly letting down" farmers in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, saying ongoing Brexit uncertainty has left food producers suffering.
Mrs Ross, the SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, says the failure to pass on money from Europe owed to Scotland underlines the danger of a Tory power-grab after Britain withdraws from the EU.
“Brexit is an enormous threat to Caithness, Sutherland and Ross farmers, who are deeply concerned over export markets, the future of farm support and ability to hire seasonal staff," she said.
“The Tories simply can’t be trusted after their brazen cash-grab of EU money from the pockets of Scottish farmers."
She says Scottish farmers and crofters have now endured three years of uncertainty about access to European markets for beef, lamb and other produce.
"On top of that, there is now the risk of our domestic market being flooded with food imports that don’t meet any of the high welfare and safety standards we farm to."
Scottish farmers receive £580 million annually through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
Mrs Ross says the EU provides an uplift in funding as farmers and crofters in Scotland receive less per hectare than the European average – "but the Tories failed to pass the uplift on in full, short-changing Scotland by £160 million".
She said: "The UK Government plans a power-grab over agriculture – despite the Leave campaign promising that powers in devolved areas would automatically come to the Scottish Parliament after Brexit – raising fears of a repeated snub to Scottish farmers and crofters."
She is asking voters to protect Scottish farming by voting for the SNP.
“The European election is a chance to send a message to the Tories that Caithness, Sutherland and Ross doesn’t want Brexit."
NFU Scotland has supported the Scottish Government’s position that all decisions affecting farming and food production in Scotland should be taken in Scotland.