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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Scotland Short-Changed On CAP For Too Long

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

SNP Westminster spokesperson for agriculture, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has argued Scotland has been short-changed on EU Common Agricultural Policy payments for too long in a Westminster debate today.

 Last week’s “Scottish Farmer” called it
an ‘act of grand larceny’
.
Dr Whiteford said that the CAP convergence uplift of £223 million has only come to the UK because of Scotland's historically low level of payments per hectare, and it should be used as intended.

Commenting after the debate, Dr Whiteford said:

“The convergence mechanism is designed to create a more level playing field for farmers across Europe. Although England, Wales and Northern Ireland receive more than 90% of the EU average payment per hectare, Scotland is well below the threshold - so far below, in fact, that it brings the whole UK average down. That’s why the EU has awarded the UK a convergence uplift of £223 million pounds – money calculated on the basis of our low per hectare payments, and earmarked for Scottish agriculture.

“The UK Government's failure to deliver the convergence uplift means that each and every Member State in the EU, without exception, will be receiving a higher per hectare rate than Scotland under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 by 2019. Scotland has been left languishing at the bottom of the international table.

"If Scotland had been negotiating on our own behalf as a normal Member State, we would have benefited from the average EU rate, which would have boosted our agricultural sector by £1 billion Euros over the next six years. With the kind of rural development funding other comparable EU countries receive, we could make transformational step changes to Scotland's rural economy, creating jobs and improving amenities. Instead we have the lowest rural development funding allocation per hectare in the whole EU.

"It is clearer than ever that a Yes vote next year offers the best solution for Scotland’s farming and rural communities."

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