Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson attended an emergency meeting in his constituency, called by the National Farmers Union, to highlight the impact that the 2015 Common Agricultural Policy reforms will have on the economy of the region.
Following the meeting Mr Fergusson said: “Today’s meeting has confirmed what I have been saying ever since the reform proposals were announced, which is that a very large amount of European support is going to be transferred from the south and east of Scotland to the north and west, and that it will have a major impact on the economy of Dumfries and Galloway - not just on farmers, but on each and every one of our local communities.
“However, the NFUS has put a figure of at least £100 million over the next five years that will be lost from the region. That is not just money being taken out of farmers’ pockets, it is money that they will no longer be able to spend in the local area on all the services that farming requires, such as feeding, fertiliser, fencing and draining, which employ so many people across the region and which helps to keep our countryside so attractive for tourists to enjoy.
“The reforms have to be brought in - there is no choice about that - but how quickly they are brought in is a matter for the Scottish Government, which has prevaricated about this for far too long. The figures that we were presented with today highlight why these reforms must be introduced as gradually as possible for the sake of local economies, such as that of Dumfries and Galloway, that are still highly dependent on agriculture.”