Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has written to Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal planning, to ask him to give full detail on promised support for sheep farmers in the event of a no-deal Brexit. When Northern Isles food producers met last week with Gove and the DEFRA Secretary, George Eustice, they were told that ‘mechanisms’ were in place to support farmers and crofters in the event of disruption caused by a no-deal scenario or price collapse.
In the letter to Mr Gove, Alistair Carmichael asked what discussions are taking place between the UK and Scottish Governments to make measures to support sheep farmers a reality.
Mr Carmichael also raised wider concerns about agriculture funding in Parliament this week, asking George Eustice how the £595m budget for the Scottish Government would be determined in future.
Speaking on the matter, Mr Carmichael said:
“Assurances from Government ministers are welcome but they mean little until we can get a better picture of what the support for food producers will look like after December 31st. Farmers and crofters have a right to know the specifics of these support mechanisms because it is their livelihoods that will be first on the line in the event of severe disruption.”
“If there are mechanisms ready and in place then we should know the specifics. If they are not there then we should know why, particularly with less than thirty days to go.
“We know that funding is there for now, but we have yet to learn how long it will last, or how it will be used. As we enter the final weeks of EU negotiations, farmers and crofters face potentially catastrophic market changes that will put their viability at risk. They deserve better than vague reassurances from the Government.”