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Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has called on the UK Government to ‘play fair’ by Scotland’s dairy farmers in its allocation of EU emergency funding.
In a letter to George Eustice, Minister of State at DEFRA, Mr Ewing stresses the need for fair distribution of EU emergency funding, according to the CAP budget model. He calls for the distribution to be based on the long-established and accepted model for sharing the UK’s Common Agricultural Policy budget, which recognises the unique features of the industry in Scotland.
Mr Ewing said: ‘It’s important that the allocation of the EU emergency support within the UK is fair and equitable. Both dairy farmers and the wider livestock sector in Scotland has suffered greatly from the financial effects that the volatility within global markets caused. I believe that situation is being made worse by the uncertainty caused by the outcome of the EU referendum.
‘The level of remoteness and limited access to processing facilities, which affects large numbers of our livestock farmers, also present pressures which are unique to Scotland. That’s why agriculture takes on a much greater significance for the Scottish rural economy and for the sustainability of our fragile communities.
‘This has long been recognised by the fact Scotland receives just over 16 per cent of UK CAP payments. I’m therefore urging George Eustice to urgently reconsider this matter and play fair by Scotland’s dairy farmers. The CAP model should be used to allocate this package of support across the UK.’