Crofters must ‘stand up with one voice’

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The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has written to all the main party leaders asking them to outline their intentions for agriculture and rural development policy in the lead-up to the general election.

SCF chairman Russell Smith said: ‘What happens to agriculture and rural development post-Brexit depends very much on the outcome of the national elections and the intentions of the parties that will hold power, both in the UK and in Scotland.

‘There are fundamental issues to think about, such as the devolution of decision-making and the size of budget, and how that budget will be allocated. A major concern is with trade agreements and what Scotland’s relationship with the European Union will be.’

Mr Smith continued: ‘There is the bigger picture of agricultural and rural development in the UK and consequently in Scotland, and there are the more specific issues around crofting that will be of great concern to crofters at this time. Who ultimately will have the say on what crofting-specific support there will be?

‘We are worried that crofting will be further consumed into general commercial agriculture when crofting is clearly distinct; it has its own benefits to offer and its own constraints to contend with.

‘We cannot afford to be complacent and think that what will be will be – crofters have to stand up as one voice and make the parties aware so that crofting-friendly commitments are included in party manifestos.’