28 March 2015 | Online since 2003



18 February 2014|News,NFU

Union support for Lochhead visit to Brussels


NFU Scotland has written to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, welcoming his visit to Brussels today and urging him to build on the new political dynamic that emerged from the Union’s recent AGM.

Political statements at the NFUS event, held in St Andrews on 10 and 11 February, opened the door to the further use of coupled support in Scotland and a commitment to a budget review process in 2016 that could see a fairer allocation of CAP funding across the UK.

Mr Lochhead is meeting the European Commission to discuss Scottish Government’s new proposals for implementing the ‘Scottish clause’ to tackle slipper farming and also its views on a higher rate of voluntary coupled support.

The Union believes there are challenges ahead at Westminster and in Europe if Scotland is to gain the power of coupling support to vulnerable hill farms but, together with effective minimum activity requirements, it is a ‘must win’ for Scotland if Pillar 1 support is to meet its stated purpose. Determining convergence criteria for the UK budget review will also be hard fought with our partners within these islands.

Welcoming the Cabinet Secretary’s visit to Brussels, and urging him to keep working on coupling and budget convergence criteria, NFUS President Nigel Miller said:

“In the aftermath of the presentations at our AGM, there is now a new political dynamic. A door has opened to the further use of coupled support in Scotland and a process for a UK budget allocation review in 2016 is starting to emerge. That is based on the goal of similar land types in the UK moving to similar area support budgets per hectare.

“These are significant developments for our industry and offer an invaluable way forward in which the Cabinet Secretary’s input will be crucial if value is to be secured.

“Coupling is a powerful targeting tool, as it can deliver both vital support to active farming where it is most needed and, through budget efficiency, the use of that same tool protects the value of area payments throughout Scotland.

“NFU Scotland has highlighted the risks of active and productive hill farms failing in the rough grazing payment region because of the single, flat rate area payment that has been proposed. That same approach also overcompensates areas of low intensity, extensive hill grazing. Coupling part of the rough grazing payment region budget can solve these issues without draining money from low ground support.

“Units with 80 percent rough grazing or more are amongst the highest risk units in Scotland – physically constrained and financially exposed to volatility in markets and input costs, and now many of the most active are facing significant reductions in direct support receipts. Focusing explicit coupled support on this group of farms can help to close the rough grazing support gap. That focus can secure hill ewes, hill cattle and communities in remoter and disadvantaged areas.

“The issue of the UK’s convergence dividend was also a key theme at our AGM. The concept of equivalent support for equivalent land classes is hard to argue against in a UK context.

“At our AGM, Defra Farming Minister George Eustice laid out broad terms of reference for a budget review in 2016 being based primarily on “fairness” and a parity of payments footing.

"However, the basis of convergence is not fixed, and it must be defined clearly before this process can be taken forward. It is important that Richard Lochhead and his officials engage with Defra and the other devolved administrations to bolt down regionalisation, land equivalence standards, and budget weighting as the foundation of that essential review process.”

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


17 March 2015
Sharepoint Support Analyst - Oxfordshire - £45k
SHAREPOINT SUPPORT ANALYST - £45K - OXFORDSHIRE Are you a Sharepoint support specialist? As an exciting opportunity has arise...

12 March 2015
Tax Senior Manager, OMB Clients, Glasgow
This firm will offer you the chance to work with a diverse range of owner managed business clients in sectors such as propert...

16 March 2015
Band 8b Head of External Communications and Engagement
It comprises Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital, the Royal Free Hospital and more than 30 services in the community....

9 March 2015
Warehouse Operative
The opportunity is based at the Park Farm industrial estate, in Wellingborough. Warehouse Operative - Working for an award wi...

18 March 2015
Project Developer - City of London
Understanding of the renewables industry and a technical understanding of solar farm planning constraints is also desired....




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...