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30 January 2017

Stevenson Calls for Protection of Rural Development Funding

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson, has called for the protection of rural development funding that benefits much of the North-east.

Mr Stevenson spoke during a Parliamentary debate on the future of funding for rural development. He focused on the importance of public funding for the Scottish rural economy and the benefits of the Leader programme.

The Scottish Parliament agreed that EU funding is important to the rural economy and that the UK Government is failing on to provide Scotland with its fair share of funding. In addition to stating that the UK Government must ensure that appropriate funding is available to support farmers, land managers and rural communities to meet biodiversity and climate change targets.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said,

“The North-east has benefitted hugely from rural development funding. Programmes like LEADER have invested thousands of pounds across the North-east. Just last month another £64,000 was secured by the Macduff Scout Group to improve their local Scout hut. It’s essential that we get certainty on rural development funding. Currently this comes through the Common Agriculture Payments – beyond 2020 we have no commitment.

“Recent comments by Conservative MP George Eustice worry me – he wrote earlier this month, ‘No more subsidies post 2020 for farmers.’ That kind of language is incredibly threatening to those living in rural Scotland. What’s more is that our demands in the North-east are very different from those of England. It’s critical that the UK Government acknowledge this and ensure that Scotland gets appropriate funding post-2020 – it’s the only way we’ll get a level playing field across the UK.

“This kind of uncertainty is neither fair nor acceptable. Our farmers, crofters, and wider rural community deserve a promise of funding beyond 2020. The longer the UK Government fails to commit, the worse it looks for communities like ours."
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