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Scottish MPs lobby Treasury for extension to farm funding guarantee

Unrecognisable farmer driving tractor and sprinkling fertiliser on wheat crop field.
The MPs say rising costs mean Scottish farmers need Westminster to extend its funding guarantee beyond 2024.

A trio of Scottish MPs has written to the Treasury calling for long-term certainty over farm funding for Scotland.

The MPs – Andrew Bowie, David Duguid and John Lamont – have written to Exchequer Secretary Helen Whatley asking for a meeting to discuss financial support for farmers north of the border.

They want the UK Government to extend its current commitment to keep farm funding at the same level during this Parliament to 2024/25.

The MPs say Westminster allocates around £620 million to the Scottish Government for farming every year, however increasing production costs mean fewer farm businesses will turn a profit without guaranteed support.

“The UK Government committed to 2024 because there will be a new system of support by 2028,” said Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.

“However, no one at that time envisaged the war in Ukraine and the impact that would have on everything farmers need, from diesel to fertiliser to animal feed.

Andrew Bowie MP.

“We’re asking HM Treasury to make one change to protect our food supply at an uncertain time.”

John Lamont, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said extending the payment commitment from the UK Government would boost confidence in the farming sector.

He added: “It’s not just about business; it’s about protecting rural communities which depend on the jobs, produce and natural advantages they provide.”

‘One change will help farm businesses manage their finances’

Banff and Buchan MP, David Duguid, said results from the Scottish farm business income survey for 2020 showed most farms would have made a loss without subsidy support.

He said: “The industry is modernising at a rapid pace. Diversifying and decarbonising is a major part of what they do.

“But we need to protect food security, and this one change will help farm businesses manage their finances.”

David Duguid MP.

A Treasury spokesman said: “We have committed to maintain the annual budget to farmers throughout this Parliament, in each part of the UK.

“We are providing the Scottish Government with the same cash funding each year as under the 2019 Common Agricultural Policy.

“On top of this we are extending the uplifts recommended by the Bew Review so that overall the Scottish Government is receiving just over £620 million each year of this Parliament to spend on farmers and land managers.”

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