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25 October 2007

Stevenson Delighted as Scottish Governmnet Backs Farmers

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the SNP Government’s announcement of a £25million aid package to help Scotland’s farmers and crofters following the hard-hitting Foot and Mouth outbreaks this year.

Rural Secretary Richard Lochhead announced the measures which will provide much needed support to prevent long-term damage to Scotland’s livestock industry.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government have come to the aid of Scotland’s farmers with an aid package that will do much to assist one of our most vital industries.

“The UK Government have sidestepped Scotland’s farming communities and effectively washed their hands of any responsibility to provide support. This is particularly startling when considering the outbreak originated in a UK Government licensed facility.

“The Scottish Government have throughout the summer and September outbreaks listened to the farming communities concerns and have acted upon them swiftly.

“The large number of farmers who have been affected by Foot and Mouth restrictions will be relieved to see a Government that takes effective action.

“The Scottish Government are all too aware of the importance of Scotland’s livestock industry to our communities to ignore the crisis facing the industry and leave it to suffer a meltdown.

“I have been and will continue to listen to the farmers in my constituency to ensure their concerns are taken on board and acted upon by the Scottish Government.”


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Notes:

The main elements of the package are:

Payments of £6 a head for breeding ewes. This will cost an estimated £19 million.
Payments for the emergency welfare scheme already under way and cancellation of the second instalment of sheep dip charges.
Payments of £200,000 to the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institute to help individuals in need of support and £60,000 to the Royal Highland Education Trust to help raise the profile of Scottish food and farming in the wider community.
Further investment of up to £1 million for enhancing the resilience of the red meat sector in the longer term.

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