Unions to meet with First Minister

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NFU Scotland is to meet with Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday 8 March ahead of a rally of farmers and crofters to be held at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Thursday 10 March.

The rally will highlight to Scotland’s politicians the deepening cash crisis in Scotland’s countryside. With prices for virtually every farm commodity on the floor and having endured the wettest winter on record, Scottish farmers and crofters want all Scottish MSPs ahead of the May election to understand that the farming industry’s position as the cornerstone of the whole rural community is under threat.

The key driver behind the current crash crisis is Scottish Government’s failure to deliver support payments to farmers and crofters because of its £178 million investment in a flawed IT delivery system that is not fit for purpose. To date, just over £100 million of support under basic Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes has been paid out from a total budget of almost £400 million.

That has contributed to a cash flow crisis on farm that has ramifications for the many hundreds of Scottish businesses who have farmers and crofters as their main customer.

NFU Scotland President Allan Bowie said: “We welcome the opportunity to meet with the First Minister and continue a dialogue about the importance of Scottish farming that started at the Highland Show. At that time, and when the First Minister met us on farm in late August, concerns about Scottish Government’s IT system and its ability to deliver the new CAP schemes were already being raised by the Union.

“Since then, Scottish Government has consistently missed its own deadlines on support payments.”