North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles called on Scottish Conservatives to drop their ‘paternalistic’ approach to rural policy making and take a seat at the table with producers, consumers and environmental organisations, during a debate in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
On 10th January this year, the Scottish Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Government reached an agreement on how to create a new framework for rural support after Brexit. Putting rural communities, stakeholders and organisations at the heart of a bespoke system for Scottish agriculture
Mr Rumbles has been an outspoken advocate for rural stakeholders to have an active role in developing a new and long-term system of farming and rural support, post 2020.
Mr Rumbles said: “If we want to have a system that works, communities and organisations from every corner of our rural economy need to ‘buy-in’ to what is proposed. The best way to do that is to avoid the type of top down policy making that that Conservative Party are arguing for and include stakeholders in the decision making process.
“I’m delighted that the Scottish Government agreed to take the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ plan forward and convene a group to develop just such a system. Now Ministers need to get on and deliver that plan. There is not a minute to lose.
“Brexit will have a lasting impact on our rural economy and agricultural industries. Exports, production and jobs will all be at risk. That is why we need a system of funding support that everyone can get behind and one that meets the specific needs of our distinct rural economy.”