Urgent UK farm talks call

An urgent meeting to agree how emergency EU farm funding should be split within the UK has been called for by Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead.

It comes after the UK was awarded €36.1 million of agricultural aid – the third largest allocation in all of Europe.

Details of the funding package were confirmed by the European Commission at an informal meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg.

Speaking from Brussels, where he has been giving evidence to the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Mr Lochhead said: “Scottish farmers are dealing with the double whammy of volatile markets and the impact of very poor weather conditions earlier this year, with some parts of the country experiencing their wettest summer for over a century.

“In this time of need, it is imperative that Scotland’s farmers get a fair share of the EU’s emergency funding.

“'The settlement should take into account the stark challenges Scottish agriculture is currently facing as well as the fact that recent UK negotiations have already left Scottish farmers with the lowest Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payment rates in the whole of Europe.

“The CAP is a lifeline for many Scottish farmers but in the main CAP budget settlement the UK Government denied them hundreds of millions of euros in convergence uplift money that was rightfully theirs.

“Scottish farmers are paying the price for this injustice and the UK Government should urgently put right this wrong. A first step should be to ensure that Scotland gets a fair share of this new EU agriculture aid and I will be writing to the Defra Secretary of State requesting an urgent meeting to discuss this very matter.”

Last updated: 16 September, 2015