The Scottish beef industry is currently on a high, with record output figures in 2011 of £1.2 billion announced earlier this week but industry leaders yesterday claimed there was still room for expansion and profitable expansion at that.
Alan McNaughton, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, said that Scotland’s meat industry was operating fully 20 per cent below capacity, a fact which was putting jobs and businesses at risk and leaving significant national income potential untapped.
“With the right incentives for producers, the right backing from the Scottish government and the right conclusion to CAP reform, our industry could be pumping closer to £1.25bn into the Scottish economy, boosting jobs and export earnings in the process,” said McNaughton.
He compared the vast amounts of money being invested in Scotland’s renewable energy industry where the payback would not come until 2020, 2030 and beyond.
“At the same time, we hear far too little about the here and now realities of Scotland’s beef and lamb outputs. By all means invest in the energy future of Scotland but don’t overlook what we already have, and have had, for as long as any of us can remember, namely a world-renowned reputation for quality meat which buyers everywhere are eager to obtain, provided we can deliver.”
He called on the Scottish Government to “stand tall in London and Brussels and demand an increase in the coupled calf scheme”.
This scheme gives support to farmers producing beef calves in Scotland but the amount of money is limited by the EU.
To make a change from the present subsidy level would require a change in EU policy.
Jim Paice, UK farming minister, revealed that Scotland was currently using up England’s share of the coupled payment. This did not involve any cash changing hands but did allow Scotland to use England’s share of the scheme.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 2 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West