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Return to face-to-face lobbying sees NFUS hold 150 meetings with parliamentarians

Jonnie Hall (NFU Scotland Director of Policy)

IN 2023, NFU Scotland will guarantee that the voice of Scottish farmers and crofters will be heard at the heart of Governments and across all political and policy interests following a record-breaking year in 2022.

In 2022, a return to face-to-face meetings saw lead lobbying organisation for Scottish farming hold more than 150 meetings with MPs, MSPs and Lords. NFU Scotland was also mentioned in almost one hundred debates and gave evidence to dozens of parliamentary committees at both Holyrood and Westminster.

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Beyond meetings in London and Edinburgh, NFU Scotland held numerous regional meetings with local MPs and MSPs and met with some 45 politicians at local agricultural shows across Scotland. More than 40 MSPs also attended NFU Scotland’s recent #FoodNeedsAFarmer rally at Holyrood in November, underlining its reputation as one of the most respected and actively engaged lobbying organisations in Scotland.

Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “Given the challenges Scottish agriculture continues to face, and the turbulent economic and political context, NFU Scotland is already planning its 2023 political engagement which will include continuing to build and develop relationships with MPs, MSPs, Lords and researchers and deepen the understanding of the importance of Scottish agriculture to Scotland and the UK. 

“Engagement in Scotland will focus primarily on future agricultural policy with the Agricultural Bill expected in the first half of 2023 following the Scottish Government consultation that has recently closed.

“Other key bills that are expected in Scotland include a Natural Environment Bill and more land reform, as well as a host of other legislation with implications for farming, crofting and, more widely, land use and land management.

“At Westminster, NFU Scotland will focus on securing future funding beyond 2024, with the current commitment lapsing at the end of this parliament. On funding, Scottish agriculture currently receives around £637 million in total of which £620 million is currently from HM Treasury.

“To continue to secure that level of funding, NFU Scotland is building an unequivocal evidence base on the return on investment that Scottish farming and crofting delivers, supporting thousands of supply chain businesses, providing jobs and incomes upstream and downstream, as well as the immeasurable environmental and social benefits that only active farming and crofting can deliver.

“The Retained EU Law Bill is also a priority as NFU Scotland has many concerns in relation to the tight timescale and potential consequences if important and existing EU legislation is not carried over. There are also outstanding issues regarding future trading arrangements, especially the impacts of new free trade agreements and border controls with the EU in the wake of Brexit. 

“A critical post-Brexit issue continues to be labour, with shortages in both seasonal and permanent staff negatively impacting the agri-food sector and supply chains. Work on skills and jobs within the sector is also being carried out.”

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