Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has reacted to the Scottish Government’s publication of Farm Business Income (FBI) for the 2018 harvest season, which showed that only 28% of Scottish farms would have made a profit without Common Agricultural Policy subsidy. Mr Carmichael said that the figures were a reminder of the importance of financial support for local farmers and crofters.
FBI figures are considered to be the most authoritative metric for farmer profitability due to their basis on actual profit margins rather than estimates.
Mr Carmichael said:
“These figures should be a warning to those seeking to make major changes to the trading landscape for farmers and crofters. 2018 was a difficult year for farming but hardly exceptional – we have to think about the risks of further financial challenges to the rural economy.
“Barely a quarter of farms made a profit before CAP support in 2018, and 30% made no profit in any of the previous five years without subsidy. For some on the Tory right that is proof that we need to cut support and invite in corner-cutting imports. Anyone who sees the value in locally grown food and successful rural communities knows better.”
“The UK and Scottish governments have committed in the short term to keeping farm support payments but we need long term support plans as well. If government truly believe in a vibrant food and farming community in the UK then they need to put their efforts into it.”