Rumbles welcomes creation of independent post-Brexit rural policy group

Scottish Liberal Democrat rural economy spokesperson Mike Rumbles has welcomed the announcement that the Scottish Government has convened a group of independent representatives from consumer, producer and environmental organisations to help design a new bespoke system for rural support after 2020.

In January, Scottish Liberal Democrats worked with the Scottish Government to pass a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the creation of a new independent policy group to look into rural support if the UK leaves the Common Agricultural Policy, after Brexit.

In response to a Parliamentary Question lodged by Mr Rumbles, the rural economy Cabinet Secretary announced the full list of members which includes representation from organisations such as NFUS, Scottish Environment Link and Food & Drink Scotland.  

Mike Rumbles said:

“The Scottish Liberal Democrats have been calling for this group to be formed since 2016. It is absolutely critical that rural support funding, that presently comes to Scotland through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, is secure if the UK leaves the EU.

“This is a great opportunity to build a new system that works specifically to the strengths of Scotland’s rural economy. The best way to do that is to get organisations that have the most expertise and understanding of our rural economy round a table to design a bespoke system. Giving them a full ‘buy-in’ to the final scheme.

“I’m delighted that the Cabinet Secretary has announced the complete list of members today and I look forward to hearing the outcome of the first meeting of the group very soon.”


Notes for editors:

Parliamentary Question: S5W-23843 - 17/06/2019 – Mike Rumbles MSP - To ask the Scottish Government what progress it is making in convening a group consisting of producer, consumer and environmental organisations to inform and recommend a new bespoke policy on farming and food production.

Fergus Ewing: I can confirm that the group which Parliament supported being established has now been established with membership representing producer, consumer and environmental organisations.  The initial membership is listed below.  It will be chaired by a Scottish Government director and support will be provided by other relevant policy officials throughout the lifetime of the group.

The first meeting of the Group is taking place today and it will make recommendations on future farming and food production policy built around the six principles set out in the January debate: Sustainability; Simplicity; Profitability; Innovation, Inclusion, Productivity.  

External Members:

Martin Kennedy - National Farmers Union Scotland

Sarah Allison - Quality Meat Scotland

Lucy Husband - Food and Drink Scotland

Marion McCormick - Former Aldi Executive

Robbie Galloway - Scotbeef

Aoife Behan - Soil Association

Anne McCall - RSPB Scotland

Deborah Long - SE Link

Ian Muirhead - Harbo

Joyce Campbell - Sheep farmer, Entrepreneur

Lisa Buchanan - Crofter

Robert Graham - Grahams Family Dairy Group

Hugh Campbell-Adamson - Stracathro Estates

Alison Milne - Demperston farm

Lochy Porter - Angus Fruits

James Graham - SAOS and Beef 2020 Industry Group

Tbc - Citizens Advice Scotland

Motion passed by the Scottish Parliament (January 10, 2019):

That the Parliament acknowledges that future policy for Scotland’s rural economy should be founded on key principles, including sustainability, simplicity, innovation, inclusion, productivity and profitability; recognises that it should seek to maintain flourishing communities, enable farmers and crofters to continue to deliver high-quality goods and services through food production and stewardship of the countryside and Scotland’s natural assets, and encourage diverse land use; calls on the UK Government to deliver a fair allocation of future rural funds to Scotland, including fully replacing all lost EU funding, that will allow development and implementation of a funding support scheme that meets rural Scotland’s needs and interests; further calls on the Scottish Government to convene a group consisting of producer, consumer and environmental organisations to inform and recommend a new bespoke policy on farming and food production for Scotland, and agrees that the Parliament should legislate for future rural policy.

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