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NFU Scotland launches petition for transition under new Cap

New season lamb prices are up 8% on last year
New season lamb prices are up 8% on last year

NFU Scotland has launched an online petition calling for a transition from historic to area-based payments under the new Common Agricultural Policy (Cap).

The last ditch plea from the union comes in the wake of fears that farm minister Richard Lochhead will opt for an immediate switch to area-based payments.

The Scottish Government is yet to announce the full details of how the new Cap will be implemented, although an announcement is imminent.

NFU Scotland is urging the government to allow a transition period so that established businesses have time to adjust during the move from historic to area-based payments.

The union is also calling for a national reserve to deliver full area payments from day one to those who currently receive no payments under the current regime.

“NFU Scotland considers that a transition period to the new support regime is critical,” said chief executive Scott Walker.

“We are calling on all Scottish farmers currently receiving direct support to sign the petition, support a managed transition and say no to a single step change in farm payments.”

He said the move to area-based payments would result in many established businesses suffering big reductions in support.

“All sectors will be affected but the beef, dairy and general cropping sectors are most at risk. ¬†Yet it is these sectors that are the foundation of Scotland’s food and drink sector,” added Mr Walker.

“Even if established farm businesses survive, an overnight change in support would impact heavily on the wider rural economy, jobs and processing.”

He said a managed transition period would protect production, the economy and employment.

“We are calling on Scottish farmers to sign this petition and send a clear message to the Scottish Government that farmers need a period of transition and that the new support system but be brought in over a period of time,” added Mr Walker.

“While a managed transition is best for established businesses, we have always maintained that for those unfairly locked out of the previous regime, the national reserve must deliver full area payments from year one.”

In recent months the Scottish Government has come under fire for not having announced details of the new Cap already.

Writing exclusively in the Press and Journal last month, Mr Lochhead said he faced “extremely difficult” decisions on the new Cap with a smaller budget to work with.

The petition can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/s/NFUSCAPtransition