>> 11 January 2011


Local MSP, Alex Salmond, has joined calls from Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead urging the UK Government to fundamentally revise its position on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Mr Salmond is concerned that the UK Government’s lukewarm stance on agriculture reform will be damaging to the industry in Gordon, which forms an important part of the local economy

Mr Salmond said:

“I, along with many in the farming community here in Gordon, was optimistic about CAP reform after the recent election. However, farmers will find it hard to tell the difference between Hilary Benn and Caroline Spelman as they toe the same line on CAP.

“My worry is that Defra’s position threatens the direct support system for farmers that the Scottish Government has fought hard to retain. The UK Government is, as ever, fixated on ending direct support and cutting the CAP budget as opposed to paying attention to the needs of our farmers.

“The UK Government cannot push for improvements in farming processes and production whist removing the support that underpins this work.

“Farming is big business here in the North East, and is a cornerstone of the local economy here. The Scottish Government recognise this, which is why we’ve asked Brian Pack – a prominent figure in agriculture both locally and across Scotland - to help develop Scotland’s thinking on CAP reform.

“UK Government must realise sooner rather than later that their proposed cuts to direct farming support will have a dangerous impact on the industry here in Gordon.”

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