McArthur questions Minister over future agricultural policy

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) questioned the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon over the delivery of future agricultural policy and called for greater clarity for farmers.

During Portfolio Questions, Mr McArthur secured assurances from Ms Gougeon that any future regime will reflect the specific needs of island farmers and crofters.

Mr McArthur also raised the need for ongoing support for new entrants to the sector and again the Cabinet Secretary confirmed the government's intention to deliver such a scheme into the future.

Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:

"Farmers in Orkney, and across Scotland, urgently need clarity on future funding and regulation.  Without such detail, it is impossible for businesses to plan ahead with any confidence.

“While the Scottish Government has set up a Board to inform these decisions, as the NFU Scotland President made clear last month, "the time for talk is over and now is the time to deliver"

"It is important, however, that any changes to meet the challenges of Brexit and the climate emergency, reflect the different circumstances facing farmers across the country. It was reassuring, therefore, to hear the Cabinet Secretary be so explicit in stating that any new agricultural policy and funding regime will reflect the needs of island farmers and crofters.

"I was also pleased to hear Mairi Gougeon confirm that her intention to safeguard support for new entrants into the sector going forward. That is essential to ensuring the long-term future of farming in Orkney and across Scotland."

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