Creating a Sustainable Future for Crofting

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 10 September 2019.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Farmers and crofters are among those who are most likely to be impacted in a number of respects should the disaster of a no-deal Brexit take place, through, for example, the loss of market for lamb and the uncertainty about future funding. In fact, all assurances from the UK about future funding would come to an end upon a general election. That is in contrast to the seven-year programmes that we are used to in the EU.

I have made arrangements for a loan scheme to be administered. Ninety-five per cent of farmers and crofters will be entitled to receive 95 per cent of their money, and we have arranged the scheme so that, if they return the form quickly in the first week of October—or thereabouts—the payment should be in their hands prior to a no-deal Brexit taking place. That is a practical step that will be appreciated—it is about what we can do with our devolved powers. However, there are some things that we cannot mitigate, such as the loss of trade, tariffs and the availability of people in rural Scotland. Those issues are of serious concern to Mr MacDonald’s constituents.