NFU Scotland is looking to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to show a clear commitment to supporting Scottish agriculture when he makes his spending review announcement tomorrow.
NFU Scotland accepts that in the wake of Covid-19 and the end of Brexit transition, Scottish agriculture will have to change significantly and adapt to a new operating environment which will not be ‘business as usual’.
Ahead of the UK Government’s much-anticipated Spending Review, an NFU Scotland briefing has set out to the Treasury what it sees as the need for vital investment in agriculture and rural development to enable farming and crofting to deliver on the increased expectations being placed on the sector.
In a rapidly changing political, economic and social context, the Union has set out the case as to why public funding must be targeted to enable Scottish agriculture to drive economic activity and secure green growth. With the right levels of public investment Scottish agriculture can:
- Produce high-quality food and products
- Enhance productivity and create new market opportunities and jobs
- Lead the delivery of biodiversity, climate ambitions and a flourishing environment
- Drive sustainable growth and diverse rural development to help rural economies prosper and communities thrive
- Underpin a burgeoning Scottish food and drink sector
To do this, the Union has called explicitly called for HM Treasury investment to underpin a bold new post-CAP agricultural policy for Scotland to be delivered by the Scottish Government.
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said
The pivotal role that agriculture plays in the Scottish economy cannot be overstated nor can its needs be overlooked if recovery is to be effective and sustained. We need the Chancellor and Treasury to stand by farmers and crofters at this hugely challenging time for the agricultural sector and put them at the centre of the nation’s green recovery.
Regardless of whether we leave the EU with or without a trade deal, it is clear that markets and supply chains must adapt to survive and thrive, and delivery of agricultural support will be realigned to meet amended policy goals.
Delivering the same quantum of funding to Scottish agriculture as it received under the CAP, as promised in two Conservative election manifestos, will ensure it continues to underpin our vibrant food and drink manufacturing sector, environment and climate change obligations and drive Scotland’s post-COVID-19 recovery.
As the cornerstone of rural Scotland, the agricultural sector and agricultural land use are the foundation upon which economic growth and prosperity can be built, including in sectors such as food and drink, tourism and renewable energy.