Politicians call for support for rural economy

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and Aberdeenshire East’s Christine Jardine met leaders of the farming community to discuss the continuing crisis facing the industry.

Mr Rennie and Ms Jardine visited Buchan Agricultural Consultants in Maud last week to hear about problems over payment applications before meeting Kevin Gilbert of the NFU over the pressure on farmers caused by low commodity prices.

Willie Rennie and Christine Jardine visit Buchan Agricultural Consultants

Willie Rennie and Christine Jardine visit Buchan Agricultural Consultants

After the meetings Ms Jardine said: “It’s up to those of us who can put pressure on the Scottish Government to help the rural economy to do everything we can to ensure they get they support they need to fill the hole that’s been created by late CAP payments.

“We also need to do what we can to encourage communities to buy local and support producers.”

Ms Jardine described the problems being caused over farm payment applications as ‘ridiculous’ and said: “Speaking to those who handle these claims every day its clear that the problems could be easily sorted out with some common sense and commitment to make life easier for our farmers.

“Yes the continuous mapping demanded by the EU is an obstacle but surely it is not beyond the wit of those responsible to find a way of making sure farmers have a clear window in which to apply.”

Willie Rennie also welcomed the steps being Galen by the Scottish Government to alleviate the problems caused by computer payment systems in Edinburgh.

He said: “We have to recognise that our rural economies have been hit hard by the late payments at a time when farmers are already undo reassure and we must do everything we can to support them.”