“Clarity and a fair deal” on funding needed for farmers and crofters – Carmichael

19 Dec 2023

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for “ringfenced” agricultural funding to be delivered properly to Scottish farmers and crofters. Speaking in Parliament during Treasury questions, Mr Carmichael highlighted a £33m section of funding allocated to agriculture in Scotland by the UK government under the Bew Review, which has nevertheless been deferred by the Scottish Government, and called for a “fair deal” for farming in the Scottish budget this afternoon.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“The minister will be aware of the frustration that is felt by many farmers and crofters across Scotland, that the £33m that was given to the Scottish Government for a specific purpose as part of the Bew Review has been deferred hitherto.

“What will she do in the future to ensure that where money is given for an express purpose of supporting Scottish agriculture that it is in fact used for that purpose?”

Responding for the government, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Laura Trott MP said:

“That is an excellent question. The SNP Scottish Government has yet to clarify when that ringfenced money will be returned, and I hope they will do so this afternoon at the budget.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“A recent NFUS survey found that almost two-thirds of farmers saw uncertainty around future funding as the most significant threat to their businesses. That is no great surprise when you see how they have been treated in recent years.

“In June, there was a 'categorical assurance' to the NFUS from the Scottish government that the £33m deferred from the agricultural budget last year would be returned. Hard-pressed farmers and crofters in the Northern Isles and elsewhere deserve some clarity and a fair deal from the SNP-Green government.”

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