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Agri-environment cuts led by SNP not by demand

November 16, 2011 11:31 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Jim Hume MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs spokesperson, has questioned the Scottish Government's approach to agri-environment schemes after answers to parliamentary questions revealed the funding for a successful scheme was cut despite demand still being high.

Jim Hume MSPJim Hume MSPThe Scottish Government has cut the agri-environment budget by 28.1% but has always maintained that any cuts would be "demand led."

But Mr Hume has learned that the Scottish Government is managing the demand by withdrawing funding from schemes - such as 'Management of Hedgerows" - that could otherwise continue.

Commenting, Mr Hume said:

"The cuts to the agri-environmental budget are anything but demand led. They are led by the SNP Government that has slashed the budget by 28.1% and withdrawn millions of pounds from successful projects.

"The "Management of Hedgerows" scheme was popular and successful. It attracted £33 million of investment and created 2,600km on hedgerow which helped biodiversity.

"It makes no sense to cut such a successful scheme. The Cabinet Secretary has been leading us all up the garden path by saying cuts are demand led to cover the SNP's tracks while they take the environment for granted.

"It is clear that the SNP Government is suppressing demand to meet the budget choices they have made.

"This will be to the detriment of agri-enviroment projects and leave the 2020 bio-diversity targets all but impossible to meet."