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1 December 2004

SALMOND & STEVENSON WELCOME BOOST FOR BEEF SECTOR

Banff & Buchan representatives Stewart Stevenson MSP and Alex Salmond MP have welcomed the announcement from the Government that it is to end the Over Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS) for cattle.

Both SNP members have been pressing for the lifting of the scheme. Mr Stevenson raised the matter with Ross Finnie at a meeting early last month and Mr Salmond has been lobbying Ministers in London and has tabled Parliamentary Questions on the subject.

Welcoming the news, Mr Stevenson said:

“Farmers in my constituency will very much welcome this news and I am delighted for the industry that the Over Thirty Month Scheme is to end, for which my constituents have been pushing for some time.

“The scheme cost a ridiculous amount of money per animal as well as a substantial loss to the farmer over the beef price. In reality, the ending of the scheme should have been announced long before now if the Government had heeded the advice of the Food Standards Agency.

“As a next step, we need the Scottish Executive to support moves to reclaim our former overseas markets once full export status is achieved and to get Scotch Beef back on the dinner plates of Europe.”

Mr Salmond added:

“I am pleased that the Government have finally agreed to act after all the lobbying and pressure from farmers, politicians and the NFU.

“We have an excellent high-quality product in Scotch Beef and the best beef is of course produced right here in the North-east. I am therefore keen to see the moves announced by the Government implemented as quickly as possible so that maximum benefit can begin to accrue to North-east farmers.”
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