South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has joined calls for Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael to stand up to DEFRA after it was announced that it will not pass on hundreds of millions of pounds in EU agriculture payments to Scotland which only accrue to the UK because of Scotland’s unique agriculture.
The shock decision comes in the wake of cross party support from Scottish politicians at Holyrood, including the Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat parties as well as the Scottish government for the payments to be passed on.
The decision sees Scottish farming losing out on €60million a year until 2020, some €230million in funds to which Scotland’s farmers are objectively entitled.
Ms McAlpine said:
“I feel extremely angry at this unbelievable decision.
“As Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael must stand up to DEFRA – this outrageous allocation is not in Scotland’s interests. Mr Carmichael cannot stand by and let this happen.
“Politicians at Holyrood put aside their differences to gain cross party consensus on this issue and fight Scotland’s corner.
“This money only comes to the UK because of Scotland’s poor CAP budget allocation and to see the funds go elsewhere is completely wrong.
“The EU allocated the budget to our member state government in order to rectify the situation we have in Scotland.
“Scotland’s farmers are entitled to this money – yet Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Owen Paterson says the allocation is ‘fair’.
“This is a disgraceful budget settlement for Scotland’s farmers and crofters. DEFRA has condemned Scottish farmers and crofters to the lowest CAP payments in Europe and I urge Mr Carmichael to stand up and do what is right for Scotland’s farmers.
“Yet again we are reminded why Scotland needs a Yes vote – independence will ensure we get direct EU payments, not channelled via Westminster, ensuring our farmers get the fair deal they are entitled to.”