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NFU Scotland comment on cuts to Scottish Government Agricultural Budget

Martin Kennedy (NFU Scotland President)

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “At a time when Scottish farmers and crofters are facing unprecedented levels of cost – fuel has doubled, fertiliser has trebled, and electricity has increased five-fold – an announcement that the agricultural budget is to be cut is a blow to a food and farming sector already devoid of confidence. 

“Farmers and crofters want to play their part in tackling the nation’s cost of living crisis but at a time when Scottish Government should be looking to prioritise home food production in order to secure an affordable, domestic food supply, the headline that there is a cut in agricultural support risks eroding confidence, reducing production further and raising the cost of food.

“While there are indications that the £33 million removed from agricultural funding is largely a deferment of spend that wasn’t going to occur this year and that the money will be returned in the future, the question must be asked of Scottish Government why that funding has not already been invested in our food and farming sector at a time when producers are already scaling back on production and livelihoods are at risk. 

We will be writing to seek assurances from the Finance secretary that this money will truly be returned to the farming budget and will be used to invest in domestic food production. “Crucially for all farmers and crofters, this announcement has no implications for support payments due to begin later this month.  However, the headline of reducing support for agriculture will run the risk of undermining our iconic food and drink industry at a time when we should be using our biggest manufacturing sector to keep food on the table and drive our economic recovery.”

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