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Farmers need more clarity over funding future, rural affairs minister told

(David Cheskin/PA)
(David Cheskin/PA)

Future funding for farmers lacks “clarity”, a Scottish minister has been told, after she delivered a food security statement to Parliament.

Rural Affairs and Islands Secretary Mairi Gougeon updated MSPs on the plans for agriculture support and food security amid climate concerns.

In her ministerial statement on Tuesday, Ms Gougeon said that new conditionality will be delivered for the 2025 single application form calendar year, meaning farmers have funding schemes in place for the future.

But opposition MSPs criticised the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, with Conservative MSP Finlay Carson accusing the Scottish Government of not taking the issue of food security “seriously enough”, and hitting out at the statement’s “total lack of clarity” over payments.

Trade agreement
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Island Mairi Gougeon addressed food security concerns (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

“This statement does nothing to address the total lack of clarity with regards to payments, raising more questions than answers in the vacuum of information which already exists,” he said.

“We’re all tired of hearing of hearing this Government saying more details will be forthcoming.”

Labour’s Craig Smyth said farmers do not know what the conditions will be for farmers to unlock the support outlined.

And the Liberal Democrats’ Beatrice Wishart said the sector had “real concerns about the lack of detailed information in order to make long-term plans for their future business”.

In response to their concerns, Ms Gougeon said the government had prioritised food security, but said: “I understand the point about more detail, but we are committed to supporting the food producers in this country.

“We are committed to supporting them through this transition, which I’ve set out the path towards today.”

Ms Gougeon added that she understood concerns around lack of detail but said the statement was another step in the journey towards reform and said more detail will be brought forward in the coming months.