Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has met with NFUS representatives including the NFUS President, Martin Kennedy, in Parliament this week to discuss a range of challenges and opportunities facing farmers and crofters in Scotland. Mr Carmichael talked with the farming union leaders about concerns relating to labour shortages, the need for greater stability for agriculture and the role farming and crofting has to play in tackling climate change. The meeting came as the Prime Minister refused calls in Parliament to take action on labour shortages in the farming industry following Brexit and the pandemic.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Carmichael said:
“It was a pleasure to meet with NFUS leaders in Parliament for the first time in over a year, and talk over the opportunities and the concerns that they see in Scotland. Our farmers and crofters have invested time and energy through recent years to get to a world-leading position on environmental standards and efficiency – now they are facing increasingly indifferent governments in both Westminster and Holyrood just when they need more confidence in uncertain times.
“We are rightly proud of the produce from the Northern Isles and elsewhere in Scotland, and our farmers and crofters are the backbone of that offering. We cannot be complacent about that success; if these jobs are allowed to wither on the vine then they will be ten times harder to restore later.
“It is disappointing that Boris Johnson refused to offer concrete support for farmers when he was given the opportunity in the chamber this week. He is never short of waffle and words, but when it comes to action he has happily left our farming sector short of workers. When this Prime Minister starts to claim that there will be no food shortages this Christmas, people will be forgiven for thinking that they should start to stock up. Farmers and food producers need more than hot air.”