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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 Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

John Scott says that the threat to EU citizens is happening on our watch, when it is because of the policies that the Tory Government in Westminster is pursuing. Is that happening on our watch? The Tory Government’s policies are absolutely abhorrent, and I have absolutely nothing to do with them. As I said, the policies are affecting my family and hundreds of thousands of other families across the country, right now.

On 10 January in Parliament, we were able to achieve consensus on our shared approach to future rural policy. Compare that with the approach that has been taken south of the border, where there have been 26 ministerial resignations over Brexit since last year. The most recent resignation was that of George Eustice, who was the Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, such little faith has he in his Government’s policy direction. That is why I will take no lectures or lessons from the Tories on rural policy.

The Scottish Government will continue to do what it has always done, which is to stand up for our farmers, crofters, fishermen, fish processors, EU citizens and rural and island communities, while working collaboratively to build policy for the future.

I move amendment S5M-16123.2, to leave out from “future agricultural policy” to end, and insert:

“the principles that it agreed following the debate on motion S5M-15279 on 10 January 2019 should be at the heart of future rural policy, namely sustainability, simplicity, innovation, inclusion, productivity and profitability; recognises the significant role that research and education should play to secure future careers in rural industries; reaffirms its view that a no deal outcome to the current negotiations on EU withdrawal would be completely unacceptable, not least because of its potential disastrous impact on Scotland’s rural economy, and agrees that, as well as supporting Scotland’s farming and crofting sector, a future funding system should also support rural, coastal and island community activity and promote environmental stewardship.”