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Supporting Scottish Agriculture

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party

I have one minute to go, so forgive me, Mr Ruskell—we will have a chat afterwards. [

Laughter.

]

I come back to the core issue of farming and support for it, which is at the heart of the motion that we are debating. I found Mr Cameron’s, and indeed Mr Mountain’s, remarks baffling, considering what the NFUS briefing to us says.

“It is the view of NFUS that ‘Stability and Simplicity’ ”

—the Government document—

“effectively captured the recommendations from various expert groups appointed by ... Government in recent years.”

It is saying that “Stability and Simplicity” has been a pretty good thing. It is not giving uncritical and absolute support, and I would never expect that from farmers. It also says:

“It is the view of NFUS that if the ‘Steps to Change’ approach were to be adopted,” much of what

“is required by way of future support for Scottish agriculture could be delivered with greater efficiency—in terms of funding, process and outcomes.”

The farmers have got the message; they know where we need to go and I look forward to continuing to engage with farmers in my constituency and across Scotland on the many occasions that present themselves. Indeed, I hope that at this year’s Turriff show I will once again sit next to Mr Gove. I hope that he will be able to account for what the UK Government will have done in the period from 29 March—but I am not holding my breath.