MSP hails support for farmers

Stewart Stevenson MSP
Stewart Stevenson MSP

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP, Stewart Stevenson has welcomed support for farmers after the Ministerial Statement by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, on protecting Scotland’s livestock.

The Cabinet Secretary re-announced the transition from the Cattle Tracing System to ScotMoves to record cattle movement data. Mr Ewing outlined what steps were being taken to encourage meaningful engagement with the new ScotsMoves system.

The Cabinet Secretary highlighted that the scheme will come into effect on 1 January 2017 and has made sure a hotline will be available on January 1 for farmers to contact.

He went on to say that the Scottish Government has taken steps to publicise the matter through specialised and general press, and assured the Parliament that officials in rural payments and inspections divisions offices will be ready to provide advice, support and back-up.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said: “I welcome the assurances of the Cabinet Secretary. He’s made clear he’s committed to helping our farmers adapt to the new system. The Scottish Government wants a flexible approach and has assured us it will allow farmers to update data by first class post, fax, telephone or indeed online.

“As we transition the Scottish Government aims to do whatever it can to assist farmers move to the ScotsMoves system. It’s the right approach and I’m glad the Scottish Government has taken an extra step by keeping a hotline open on New Year’s Day to help our farmers.

“This is an important step toward protecting Scotland’s farming communities. In 2001, the outbreak of disease destroyed many of our farming communities and cost the UK over £8 billion. It’s vital that we have robust measures in place to ensure that doesn’t happen again.”