The farmers’ rally at the Scottish Parliament organised by NFU Scotland will go ahead later this morning as planned, the union has confirmed.
Despite admitting that the moves announced by the Scottish Government – which included the promise of a cash advance to all farmers who hadn’t received their farm support dues by the end of March – had met most of the union’s demands, president Allan Bowie said that it remained vital that the importance of a vibrant rural economy was highlighted to MSPs.
“With prices for virtually every farm commodity on the floor and having endured the wettest winter on record, Scottish farmers and crofters want all Scottish MSPs ahead of the May election to understand that the farming industry’s position as the cornerstone of the whole rural community is under threat,” Bowie said.
• A debate sponsored by the Scottish Conservatives which called for a full and independent enquiry into the IT problems which many believed lay at the root of the payment delays failed to be passed in the parliament yesterday.
Dumfries MSP Alex Fergusson said that the delays had left the rural economy facing a financial black hole of some £300 million.
Lib Dem agricultural spokesman Tavish Scott said that the issue should have been resolved months ago. “The complete failure of this government’s £200m IT system is nothing short of a national disgrace,” he said.