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Farmers benefit from Scotland's place in the UK and EU

January 29, 2014 5:40 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs committee member Jim Hume MSPJim HumeJim Hume has used an important parliamentary debate on CAP funding to highlight the benefits to Scotland's farmers of remaining in the UK and in Europe.

A recent Scotland Analysis paper by the UK Government noted that if an independent Scotland did not become a Member State immediately after becoming independent of the UK, CAP receipts would be interrupted.

What an independent Scotland would receive on direct payments would also depend on its terms of membership, which would need to be agreed by all member states.

Mr Hume said:

"Scotland's farmers reap the rewards of a Scotland which is firmly in the UK and in Europe. As part of the UK, food and farming businesses in Scotland currently have open access to a home market of 63 million customers. Two thirds of all Scottish beef and lamb is sold in the rest of the UK, along with 80% of our pork.

"As part of the UK we benefit from a broader size and influence within the EU to negotiate wins for Scotland. The strength of devolution means that Scotland has the best of both worlds with the ability to implement CAP in the way that works best for Scotland's farmers. Working together with UK ministers the Scottish Government should in particular look at finding the best approach to Rough Grazing funding in Scotland.

"The SNP's independence plans would cause great uncertainty for farmers. Re-entry to the EU would require complex negotiations with the 28 other EU member states and their competing demands. Scottish Liberal Democrats will be making the positive case for a stronger Scotland firmly within the UK and Europe."