20 July 2017

Tories Signal Cuts to Agricultural Funding

Gove Threat to Farm Cash

Addressing the WWF tomorrow, UK Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove will deliver an unambiguous threat to farm cash, demonstrating once again that the UK Government cannot be trusted to look after our farmers beyond Brexit.

In his first speech in his new post, Mr Gove will say:

“…I want to ensure we go on generously supporting farmers for many more years to come. But that support can only be argued for against other competing public goods if the environmental benefits of that spending are clear.”

Amid fears that farming and fishing will be left without continued financial support beyond 2022 from the UK Government, SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson is renewing calls for powers over agriculture, fisheries and the rural economy to be repatriated to Scotland.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson, who is a member of Holyrood’s Rural Economy committee, said:

“This is an unambiguous Tory threat to continued agricultural support funding after 2022 – that is the stark post-Brexit reality which the UK Government is now proposing for our rural communities.

“Scottish farmers, like others across the UK, rely heavily on farming subsidies and their farm payments must be protected.

“Michael Gove’s empty rhetoric and false promises during the Brexit campaign have long since been exposed, and now he is backtracking on all the assurances he has ever made to Scotland.

“Powers over agriculture and fisheries must be repatriated to Scotland to enable a localised approach to these sectors and to put them and the wider natural environment at the heart of what we do. And it is vital that UK funding follows the powers to enable delivery.

“The Tory government has demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to champion Scottish farmers’ interests, and we cannot let them use Brexit as cover for a naked power grab that will leave Scotland’s farmers worse off.”

14 July 2017

Repeal Bill: North East Tories Must Stand Up for Scottish Parliament

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson is calling on MPs Duguid and Ross to oppose the UK Tory government’s attempts to use the EU Repeal Bill to strip Holyrood of powers.

The Scottish Tories need to distance themselves from the Bill which represents a naked power-grab, an attack on the founding principles of devolution, and which could destabilise our economy.

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Twenty years on since the referendum on devolution in Scotland, and the Tories are attempting an attack on the founding principles of devolution under the guise of the EU Repeal Bill.

“The SNP wants a smooth transition as much as the UK government, however this should be achieved through negotiation, not imposition. And it must be achieved in a way that respects Scotland’s hard-won devolved powers.

“I call on David Duguid and Douglas Ross to challenge any attempts at a naked power-grab on the devolved administrations by the Tories in Westminster during the withdrawal process from the EU, and to make clear their opposition to this Bill which sets out to undermine our national parliament.”

12 July 2017

Senior Tory and NFUS Call for Brexit Rethink

Brexit Threat to Rural Scotland

Calling for a halt to Brexit in today’s Herald, former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson echoed NFU Scotland's warnings that Brexit and trading outside the EU risks collapsing land values, declining markets and a dependency on cheap, low quality imports.

Struan Stevenson said that as Scottish farmers face a future without EU subsidies - accounting for 60% of their income - Brexiteers want to throw open “UK markets to cheap food from Africa, Australia, North America, Brazil and Argentina, causing chaos for UK farm gate prices, a further fall in land values and widespread bankruptcies.”

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, he warned of the dangers of trading with the US such as imported chlorinate washed chicken and hormone injected beef. He said:

“It seems ridiculous that a year after the referendum we still haven’t got our ducks in a row.”

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson SNP MSP and member of Holyrood’s Rural Economy committee said:

“More and more senior figures are condemning the UK government’s failing Brexit approach and their desperation to broker trade deals with new partners that will have devastating consequences for Scotland's fishing and farming industries - sectors which pride themselves on high quality produce.

“Quality Meat Scotland has already warned that Scottish farmers will be unable to compete with cheap imports from, for example, the US and countries in South America that can offer poorer quality, hormone-treated meat at lower prices than our high quality meat in Scotland. And NFU Scotland has today echoed those warnings and called once again for tariff free access to EU markets.

“But the Tories in power are still blind to the dangers, unable to think outside their narrow party interests and face up to the facts about a hard Brexit and what it will mean for our rural industries.

“The Tory Government’s Brexit plans continue to present a huge threat to jobs, investment and living standards in Scotland and Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Tories’ fulsome embrace of this prospect is truly shameless.”
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