Results 241–260 of 8600 for speaker:Fergus Ewing

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: As I said, the value that has been paid under the agri-environment climate scheme is at 94.8 per cent, and a remaining £100,000 of payments is needed to meet the target. I would be surprised if we had not met the target by the end of this month. I am grateful for Rachael Hamilton’s recognition of the key work that farmers and others in the farming community provide, and of the good work...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I appreciate Mr Smyth’s thanks and recognition, as I did Rachael Hamilton’s. Yesterday, I engaged with a large number of farmers from across the country who provide agritourism businesses. There has been a great deal of success in that area, but we can do an awful lot more. Therefore, I fully intend that the tourism task force should not neglect to consider the vital role that agritourism...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Yes, I share those concerns. A recent survey indicated that only a quarter of the farming community in Scotland do not share those concerns or, in other words, that around three quarters of farmers and crofters are concerned about various aspects of Brexit. The issue with seed potatoes is one example of the practical issues that we face. Scottish seed potatoes are world renowned for their...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We have not decided whether to proceed with the loan scheme as yet. As Mr Chapman is almost certainly aware, the loan scheme that we had in October last year enabled us to pay most farmers 95 per cent of their entitlement at the beginning of October. That is relevant, because the normal time for payment is not actually until later than that; payments are mostly received in December but can be...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I am pleased to say that we are slightly ahead of the game, because work has begun on the development of a transformation programme that is intended to support the move from the CAP support regime to meet our longer-term needs. The fund, which I announced in February at the NFUS annual general meeting, will include various measures for the environment— which I know that Claudia Beamish will...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Mr Finnie is correct in saying that the forestry payments have almost completely been made, through the tremendous effort of those who administer them. However, I take issue with his comment, because, this year, we had Covid. Covid has meant lockdown, which prevented trees from being planted because people could not carry on the work. Contractors had to stop working because of Covid, which...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I think that the problems were largely attributable to the overcomplexity of the regime—that really was at the root of it. That is in the past now, happily. On the LFASS scheme, I am determined that we continue to provide a reasonable sufficiency of financial support for our hill farmers—our farmers in remote, rural parts of Scotland and on our islands. It has a social purpose of...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I should say that I did not physically plant the 22 million trees myself. [ Laughter .] I am sorry about that—and it was 22 million additional trees; the figure does not take account of the restocking. The total number of trees that were planted in Scotland is therefore much higher, but it has not been properly recorded in the data. I am sure that that is an interesting detail that I have...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Certainly, for this year’s payments, we will maintain at its current level the LFASS payment that is due to recipients next year. We will do that by using some of the convergence money, as I have explained. In future years, as I have said to Mr McArthur, we want to find a different way of supporting farmers in constituencies in the most rural parts of Scotland and in the islands.

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We have been pressing the retail sector with a number of specific asks, including a commitment to a “Scottish first” policy and 100 per cent sourcing of Scottish produce, with the Scotch beef, Scotch lamb and specially selected pork brands being at the top of our list. We have good relations with retailers, some of whom do an awful lot for the sector. However, others could do an awful lot...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Farmers and crofters already have such certainty. They know that they will get their payment next year, which will be their immediate concern. In the longer term, we have already given a commitment in principle—with which I think Ms Boyack and her party would generally agree—that we wish to continue to do that by one means or another. As regards the particular questions that Ms Boyack has...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I recently met representatives of the federation via videoconference. I respect and share their concerns about the need to extend the transition period. There is now simply not the time or the capacity to deal with all the issues that are involved. That is so blindingly obvious that one is surprised that the Prime Minister has not reached that conclusion. Be that as it may, the worries are...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: We are working on that at the moment. I will bring proposals to the Parliament, but in the meantime I expect such payments to be made fairly shortly before the end of the financial year—indeed, possibly earlier than that. As far as Ms Martin’s second point is concerned, such payments have made an enormous difference. For example, I have already heard that, now that the forestry sector is...

Scottish Parliament: Farmers and Crofters (Financial Stability) (24 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: That question was raised earlier and I think that I gave a reasonably full answer. I should not name the individual, because it is not fair to do so, but I will say that the individual who runs the loan scheme has got it down to a tee. The scheme is no longer challenging to run because they have now run it five or six times. In terms of the administration of IT schemes it works very well...

Scottish Parliament: Rural and Island Economies (Impact of Covid-19) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: The impacts of Covid-19 on the Western Isles have been substantial; in particular, the impact on tourism on those islands has been devastating. The Scottish Government is working hard to address those matters.

Scottish Parliament: Rural and Island Economies (Impact of Covid-19) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Yes, I can. I hope that Dr Allan’s constituents will feel that the Government is a friend to them and to the islands, through its introduction of the road equivalent tariff and policies including delivery under the croft grant scheme of 1,000 homes, many of which have been built in his constituency. Our concern is that impacts on population pre-Covid were expected to lead to a 20 per cent...

Scottish Parliament: Rural and Island Economies (Impact of Covid-19) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Self-catering businesses were not excluded. However, we did make the initial package more generous as a response to having listened very carefully to people including Fiona Campbell, who represents that group in the tourism sector. Yesterday, I covered the issue at great length and answered the question several times, but let me repeat the position now. We believe that all accommodation...

Scottish Parliament: Highlands and Islands (Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: The Scottish Government is keenly aware of the impact that the coronavirus has had on the tourism economy of the Highlands and Islands and is working extremely hard to address that.

Scottish Parliament: Highlands and Islands (Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: I entirely agree with David Stewart that the response of the insurance companies has been deeply disappointing, which is why the Scottish Government has been very active on the matter. Fiona Hyslop, who is the lead cabinet secretary on the matter, and I had a conference call with the Association of British Insurers just last week. During it, I expressed my extreme displeasure about the fact...

Scottish Parliament: Highlands and Islands (Impact of Covid-19 on Tourism) (11 Jun 2020)

Fergus Ewing: Ferry travel has never more been more important than it is now. My colleagues Paul Wheelhouse and Michael Matheson, who are the lead ministers on the matter, are in regular contact with the islands authorities, as am I. We work together to make sure that residents and visitors view Orkney as a premier tourism destination, which, as I know from a recent holiday that my family had there, will...


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