Farmers’ union eyes Scottish budget plan

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker
NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker
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While the Chancellor’s announcement of lower than expected cuts to the Defra budget will have only minor implications for farmers north of the Border, the carve-up of the Scottish block grants will be the focus of interest in coming weeks.

NFU Scotland chief executive Scott Walker said the Scottish Government’s budget plans for 2016-17 would be critical for the industry.

“Agriculture supports a great many jobs across the whole of Scotland and is the largest economic activity outside of the public sector in some areas of Scotland,” Walker said.

“It underpins the food and drink industry, Scotland’s biggest manufacturing sector, and we will be examining closely how the Scottish Government’s budget plans look to support growth in farming.”

The union’s parliamentary officer, Clare Slipper, said that the option to average profits between two and five years provided a useful tool.

However, she also highlighted the government’s commitment to move tax administration online, flagging up the fact that rural Scotland continued to lag behind its neighbours in digital connectivity.