Agriculture and the internationally acclaimed food and drink industry are key strengths of the Scottish economy. As such, they deserve maximum support and promotion at governmental level.
With the referendum fast approaching, the question for Scotland’s 65,000 farmers, crofters and growers – as well as the 250,000 others who depend on agriculture for their livelihood – is, who is most likely to provide that support and incentive?
Is it a remote, out-of-touch and increasingly indifferent Westminster, or a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh that has, since its re-establishment in 1999, shown far more interest in and devoted more priority to the farming and food sectors?
We are in no doubt that the safety, security and future well-being of our industry is better served under an independent Scottish Parliament.
A No vote would mean years of uncertainty about a UK government’s commitment to the European Union, with very serious consequences for the future of the agricultural sector. Europe provides us with vital markets and is a source of grants and support. If, as seems increasingly likely, the UK leaves the EU, the funding that comes from Brussels will be left with HM Treasury and Scotland will be much more dependent on its decisions.
We know from bitter experience this will mean cutting expenditure on food, farming and rural development, rather than encouraging investment.
Westminster has failed Scottish agriculture time and again. With the powers on independence, Scotland’s farming and food sectors will always be a priority with a direct voice in the crucial farming talks in Europe to help secure a far better deal for our food producers and rural communities.
Signed by 43 other farmers