The future of support for farm businesses has been hit by more uncertainty following an incoherent response from the Minister to North East MSP Mike Rumbles, at a meeting of the rural economy committee today.
Mr Rumbles asked if he had set up a civil service team to give options for the establish a Scottish agricultural support mechanism after funding dries up in 2020. But the Minister refused to provide any guarantees that funding would continue or give any details whatsoever on how any new system might look. It was obvious that no forward thinking work was being done at all.
Mr Rumbles said: “It has become a weekly occurrence to listen to this Government stumble over the issues of farm payments. The fact that the Minister cannot even give farmers and their families assurances for the term of this parliament is extremely disappointing.
“It illustrates the complete incompetence of this Government over this issue. Not only have they utterly failed to get to grips with a yearlong crises of their own making, they are now burying their head in the sand over how the funding will be delivered in the future.
“It is simply disgraceful and shows a complete disregarded and misunderstanding of how the agricultural sector operates. Meanwhile, long term damage is being done to our rural economy.”