Scottish Government
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Scotland’s billion euro boost

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, has outlined some of the benefits of independence for Scottish farming – including the ‘billion euro boost’ Scotland’s farmers and the Scottish economy would have gained under EU rules if Scotland was currently independent.

Speaking as he visited Gaindykehead Farm in Lanarkshire, Mr Lochhead highlighted that an independent Scotland could have benefited from an EU rule that by 2019 no member state would receive farm payments of less than €196 per hectare – approximately £175 - worth a billion euros over the next six years.

In addition Scotland would have been able to negotiate a much better deal under the rural development section of the Common Agricultural Policy – where countries of a similar size to Scotland have used their direct voice in Europe to secure hundreds of millions of pounds of additional rural development funding.

Mr Lochhead said:

“If Scotland had been independent during the most recent EU farming talks we would have qualified for an extra €1 billion of funding – Scotland’s billion euro boost.

“This money would have benefitted our farmers and the Scottish economy as a whole – including our rural communities and the whole farming supply chain. Agriculture is comparatively around a third more important to the Scottish economy than to the UK’s as a whole, and it is distinctive. Indeed with every £1 of output from the agricultural sector generating an additional 80 pence in other parts of the Scottish economy, the whole country loses out.

“We would also have had the opportunity to join 16 other EU countries in negotiating hundreds of millions of euros more in rural development funding – funding that we could invest in rural tourism, environmental protection, broadband and renewables, and start-up assistance for young farmers.

“Instead, the UK Government has negotiated a worse deal for Scotland – negotiating Scotland to the very bottom of the European funding league tables. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the UK qualified for a €223 million uplift because of Scotland’s low payments – but instead of that funding coming to Scottish farmers, in line with the wishes of the European Union and Scottish Parliament, it was divvied up across the whole of the UK.

“Only with the powers of independence, and direct representation in Europe, we can empower our rural communities to secure and grow rural Scotland’s place in our society and economy.”

Jim Brown, of Gaindykehead Farm near Airdrie, is one of Scotland’s most successful beef farmers. He said:
“As we have seen from DEFRA Minister Owen Paterson and the UK Government’s actions over the recent debacle of CAP convergence funding – they do not have Scottish farming’s interests at heart, and indeed are taking decisions which remove vital funding from Scotland.

“These actions destroy any remaining faith farmers such as myself may have had in the ability of the UK to do what is best for Scottish farming.

“I want Scotland to be independent so our farmers are represented in Europe by a Government that always prioritises the Scottish interest, and which has a track record of delivering for farming. After decades of being represented by the UK in Europe, Scotland is now bottom of the league tables of CAP funding. With independence we can’t possibly do worse, and I believe we can do much, much better.”


Notes to editors

Scotland’s Future – Your Guide to an Independent Scotland can be downloaded at www.scotreferendum.com. From today you can also download Scotland’s Future and Scotland’s Farming – an extract focussing on Scottish agriculture and independence.

In 2011, just over £32 billion was produced in rural regions of Scotland, approximately 30 per cent of total output from the Scottish economy (excluding oil and gas). GVA statistics are available for Scotland as a whole and on a regional basis. They are not available for individual local authorities or according to the Scottish Government urban rural classification. Rural GVA figures are therefore estimated by classifying NUTS 3 regions into rural regions and the rest of Scotland regions. These figures are based on the Office for National Statistics Regional Accounts GVA in current basic prices. Further details on this calculation can be found on the following paper:
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/07/30093457/0

Jim Brown is a fifth generation farmer, farming 320 acres in North Lanarkshire. This all-grass farm was noted for the development of Grassland through the 60's and 70's, and for the famous Springwells Holstein Dairy Herd, which won many accolades in the 70's, 80's and early 90's in the showring in both Scotland and England. The family business is now one of the largest beef finishing units in Scotland with some 2,500 head going to both local butchers, and London butchers including England's largest Mail Order Business, Farmers' Choice.

Mr Brown has held various posts including Chairman of the Grassland Society (1968- 1970); Chairman of Scottish Milk Records (1981-1983); Scottish Winter Fair Chairman (1982-1984);
Chairman of British Holstein Society (1979-1981) and Hon. Treasurer (1979-1989); Dairy Council Chairman (1986-1988); Director of Scottish Milk Marketing Board (1982) and Vice-Chairman (1988 -1995). He is also now Scotland's longest ever farmer writer, having started back in 1976 writing for the Dairy Farmer and since 1982, for the Scottish Farmer.

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